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The State of Oregon has a long tradition of not supporting sales taxes, at the municipal, county, or state level. On going Public Safety issues in the City of Grants Pass forced the City Council to think outside the box as to how to fund Criminal Justice programs, especially in light of the fact that they are surrounded by a County that refuses to pass a Public Safety levy in the face of sever economic distress. On Monday August 3 the Council spent 3 and a half hours listening to staff presentations, hearing from the public, and asking questions and deliberating the measure. In the end they voted to let voters have a say on the November ballot.
From the City website: SUMMARY: This sales tax eliminates the local option property tax levy of $1.79 per $1,000 assessed value, eliminates the Jail Utility Fee, and implements a 2.00% sales tax on retail and food services starting July 1, 2016. This measure provides revenues to maintain Police and Fire Rescue services, reopens the Juvenile Justice Shelter/Detention building, increases criminal prosecution services, and allows the City to provide at least 30 adult jail beds. Revenues from the sales tax are restricted for use in Public Safety and Criminal Justice services.
Some goods and services are exempt. To learn more, you can review the August 3 meeting here, or review the article posted on the City website.