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Why is Keizer, OR intent on harming its economy with wireless taxes?

by John Stephenson / /

Just as theOregon Trail was essential to the formation and growth of Oregon in the 19thcentury, reliable and inexpensive wireless communication is essential to theformation and growth of Oregon’s communities in the 21st century.But now, sadly, state and local governments in Oregon who, like othergovernments across the country, are starving for revenue to pay foroverspending are targeting wireless communication services with discriminatorytaxes.

On Monday, theCity of Keizer, Oregon will considera proposal to impose a “wireless license fee” of five percent on wirelesscommunication services, including cellular phones. Additionally, the proposalcallsfor a "per foot" line charge to cover providers with facilities in the city's jurisdiction.

Some think thatthese taxes will fall only on business. But the reality is that the proposedwireless fees will severely harm consumers and small business owners in Keizer.As the City Manager has pointed out in the proposed ordinance, telecommunications providers will simply pass thecost of any fees onto their customers. Thus, if the City of Keizer raisesincreases fees on wireless service, the people and businesses that use wirelessservices will face higher costs and have strong incentive to use the serviceless or seek out service elsewhere that costs less, which will be available insurrounding cities and counties. In these times of economic uncertainty andwhen strong communities are needed now more than ever, the City of Keizershould not give consumers an incentive to spend their dollars elsewhere or doless communicating.

Governments, nomatter whether state or local, cannot keep tapping taxpayers with higher fees,taxes and surcharges to pay for more services and programs. In thesechallenging times, government simply has to do more with less rather thantaxing and harming economic activity facilitated through communications.Instead of raising taxes, the City Council should look at ways to reform thecity’s budget to find savings to provide its services.

If you live inthe Keizer area, you can contact the City Council by clicking here.The hearing is also open to the public and will take place at the Keizer CityCouncil (Keizer Civic Center, 930 Chemawa Road NE) at 7pm. You can find moredetails on at www.keizer.org or by calling (503)390-3700.