Thursday, June 01, 2006

Eugene discovers the way to pay for 37...maybe.

The Eugene City Council may have developed the most fair (albeit controversial) way for government to issue the required dollars for compensation under Measure 37.

Eugene Register Guard:

A divided council last week asked staff members to develop final details for a special tax on land that increases in value because of city zoning decisions. Tentatively set at 25 percent, the tax has the potential to raise several hundred thousand dollars a year for city coffers, giving the City Council a way to pay Measure 37 claims rather than waive land use rules.

The tax would be levied only on the increased value of property caused by certain zoning actions, not on a property's overall value.


This is how Measure 37 should have been written in the first place.

If its really about government's effect on private land, this is the most equitable way to deal with it.

The proposal is not without its vocal detractors, of course. David Hunnicut of Oregonians in Action complains that the city might not be able to figure the increased values fairly. Ironically, Hunnicut seems to believe that landowners can determine the decreased values fairly when it comes to filing Measure 37 claims. Welcome to reality, Dave. A good number of swords are double edged.

Other critics note that a large share of Measure 37 claims come from rural areas that would have no logical mechanism to implement the tax.

If that's the case, then create a logical mechanism. Give county commissioners the ability to levy just this sort of tax.

Gutting Oregon's land use laws or ability to do urban/rural planning isn't a solution. In fact its anarchy. If people truely want a check to cover lost land values due to government zoning or other laws--the money has to come from somewhere. This seems the most logical and fair resolution.