Salem City Council to Consider Withdrawing Employee Payroll Tax Measure on May 2020 Ballot

Posted on March 20, 2020

Salem, Ore. — At their Monday, March 23, 2020, the Salem City Council will consider withdrawing the employee-paid payroll tax measure from the May 2020 ballot. The decision will come to the City Council in the form of a resolution ratifying the action.

“We don’t yet know how severe an impact the COVID-19 pandemic will have on our local economy,” said Salem Mayor Chuck Bennett. “We do know it will take all of us, working together, to help local businesses, employees and residents recover. We’re doing our part by withdrawing this ballot measure.”

Late last year, following recommendations from a citizen task force and public testimony, the Salem City Council referred an employee-paid payroll tax proposal to Salem voters at the May 19, 2020, primary election. The employee-paid payroll tax was intended to help keep pace with our community’s growing public safety needs.

“Given the current unprecedented situation we are all experiencing, I asked that we remove the employee-paid payroll tax from the upcoming ballot,” said Salem City Council President Chris Hoy. “Despite the City’s need for additional operating revenue to keep pace with our growing population, I don’t believe that putting an additional burden on workers is the right thing to do at this time.”

The City of Salem has taken other measures to reduce the financial strain experienced by residents, businesses, and utility customers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, the City will not shut-off water service to customers if payment cannot be made. For more information about changes to City services and programs during this emergency, see the COVID-19 page on the City’s website at

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