Mayor Charlie Hales and City Commissioner Steve Novick's proposed street fee to raise money for Portland road repairs and safety projects may not have enough votes to get out of City Hall.
City Commissioner Amanda Fritz announced this afternoon that she will not support Novick's latest proposal for a residential fee, which estimates gas use based on income. She says the new plan places too large a burden on the middle class.
"I have many friends and constituents for whom even $3 per month would mean skipping a meal, or being unable to buy a bus ticket to get to work," Fritz said in a statement. "Three dollars per month is $36 per year, more than the arts tax which is also regressive. We should learn from past experience, and we should not solve one problem by making another struggle worse."
Fritz says she wants an income tax—which the Portland Business Alliance has opposed.
And she joins City Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish in saying City Council should send its plan to voters. Hales and Novick have for months tried to avoid a voter referral.
"I believe the right approach is a progressive income tax, which the Council should refer to the November 2016 ballot to allow maximum possible public participation," Fritz writes. "While I would consider voting for a progressive income tax with a sunset and no referral, I believe it would be better to provide certainty on the timing of a public vote."