Commissioner Nick Fish Has "Concerns" About Mayor Charlie Hales' Tax Hike

"I think this will be a short-lived proposal," Commissioner Steve Novick says.

Two down. One "no" vote to go?

Monday, Portland Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Steve Novick panned Mayor Charlie Hales' proposal to raise the city business license tax 14 percent, from 2.2 percent to 2.5 percent, saying the city has enough money to pay for the mayor's priorities without new revenue.

Tuesday, Commissioner Nick Fish appeared to side with Saltzman and Novick, writing in an email from Spain (where he's visiting family) that he has "concerns" about the mayor's plans.

Hales, in a press conference about his $510 million general fund budget for 2016-17, said he would challenge fellow commissioners to find cuts in their budgets if they didn't support his tax hike. Hales' is sitting on his largest budget ever, thanks to record revenue from businesses and hotels.

"We'll see if anyone wants to propose cuts," Hales told reporters Monday. "I'm always willing to negotiate and debate."

A day later, Hales' dare sounds like it has less leverage. Hales needs three votes to pass his hike—and if Fish votes no, it will die.

"I think this will be a short-lived proposal," Novick said Monday.

Here's Fish's full statement:

"While there's a lot to like in the mayor's budget, I have concerns about how he proposes to pay for it. This is too important a decision to make by cell phone while visiting my family in Spain. I intend to speak with the mayor, my colleagues, and key community stakeholders when I return next week, and will have more to say then. I will also be particularly interested in the perspective of Venture Portland and local small business owners."

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