Community Safety Payroll Tax Survey

Community Safety Payroll Tax Survey

The City Council is interested in public input on the proposed payroll tax to pay for public safety

Take the Survey before June 9

Explanation of Issue and Context

The Eugene City Council last year approved a one-time funding boost of $8.6 million for police while the city worked out a permanent public safety plan. Eugene Police Chief Chris Skinner has hired 10 new officers, half of whom form a street crime unit tasked with responding to some of the most visible local criminal activities, such as shutting down problem houses.

Eugene’s Community Safety System is no longer adequate in addressing public need:

  • In the past 5 years, 911 calls for Eugene Police have increased 21% while police and 911 staffing have remained flat.
  • From 2014 to 2017, homicide, rape, robbery, assault, sexual assault, and family offenses have increased by 18%.
  • Police are unable to respond to 1 out of 3 calls due to lack of patrol resources (when there is no immediate threat to life). On average, EPD responds to 256 calls for service per day.
  • It takes officers an average of 20 more minutes to respond to non-emergency calls for service.
  • Nationally, cities of Eugene’s size have on average 16 police officers per 10,000 (or 272 officers for 170K people, the size of Eugene). That means that the Eugene PD staff is about 72 officers below the national average.

More information at Community Safety Payroll Tax FAQs.

How Would the Tax Work?

For employees who earn more than minimum wage, the proposed tax equals 0.4% of their gross annual wages, while employers and minimum-wage workers would pay 0.2%.

A worker making $12 an hour — the minimum wage when the tax, if approved, would likely go into effect in 2020 — would pay $4.16 a month, and an employee earning $43,298 — the average annual pay in Eugene in 2017 — would pay $14.43 a month. A business that has $500,000 in gross annual payroll would pay $83.33 a month.

The proposed tax is projected to generate $23.6 million a year to pay for more police officers, detectives, 911 dispatchers, jail beds, and homelessness services.