Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski is renewing a once-defeated legislative proposal to impose a new sales tax on Oregon drivers that will raise auto insurance premiums by millions of dollars, according to Kenton Brine, Northwest Regional manager for the Property Casualty Insurers Association of America (PCI).
According to PCI, the governor announced the tax plan as part of a $14.9 billion state budget proposal he unveiled this week in advance of the legislature convening its 2007 session on Jan. 8. Revenue from the new tax on drivers would be used to hire an additional 139 Oregon state troopers.
“Providing adequate law enforcement for Oregon is always a priority for state and local officials. But, to burden motorists with a multi-million-dollar tax to hire additional troopers at a time when the state has a budget surplus makes no sense,” Brine said.
He noted that in 2003 a similar proposal was introduced in the Legislature, but it was defeated after the tax met strong opposition lodged on behalf of the 2.5 million drivers in Oregon.
“Insurers and others are again prepared to oppose this proposal when it is scheduled for consideration by the Legislature. Among other things, it is unfair to tax just one segment of our state’s population, especially when there is enough money in the budget to hire the troopers without the tax,” Brine said.
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