Garbage haulers are still begging Portland City Hall to exempt them from the new Portland Clean Energy Fund business tax.

As WW reported last month, the city is hiking garbage bills 20 cents a month as an unexpected result of voters approving the tax on large corporations to fund green energy projects ("Garbage Tax," WW, June 26, 2019).

Under city rules, all 11 garbage companies operating in the city will pass on the 20-cent surcharge to their customers. But only three of those companies are big enough to be subject to the tax increase. That means some companies will be collecting 20 cents from customers each month, even though the companies don't owe the city any money.

In a July 1 memo, the companies ask what mechanism the city will use to rectify that imbalance. They specifically ask what the city wants the companies that don't owe anything to do with the money they collect: "It is unclear what they are to do with the additional 20 cent per customer per month revenue collected from their customers."

It's perhaps surprising that companies exempted from the tax would turn down free money. Instead, they've stuck together.

Less surprising: The garbage companies do not suggest a way to equally redistribute the collected fees. Instead, they ask to be exempted from the Clean Energy Fund.

"Exemption would eliminate inequities, discrepancies and confusion for the haulers," they write.

City revenue officials are still deciding on the rules for the tax. "All potential amendments are still being considered," says Mayor Ted Wheeler spokesman Tim Becker.