Oregon Tolls

“Taxation without representation is tyranny.” James Otis, Jr.

Before I retired two years ago, I had spent most of the last 25 years crossing either the I-5 or I-205 bridge twice a day, five days a week. As long as I’ve lived here, I-5 has always been a mess, and in the last decade, I-205 isn’t any different. On a good day which was very seldom, I could get to work 20 minutes, and I could get home from work in about 30 minutes. On a bad day, it could take as long as an hour and ½ to get where I was going, and it could take as long as 2 to 3 hours sometimes to get home at night. It’s not difficult to see the amount of time lost in productivity for businesses in the area, and the enormous loss of time that people could be spending with their families.
Those of us who live in Washington and work in Oregon are taxed as much as twice that of most people working in the two states. I never minded paying the taxes, as I understood that that’s the price of living in one state and working in another. It did bother me that because my wife worked in Washington, I was penalized by Oregon and forced to use her income to determine my taxes in Oregon. When you look at all the communities around Portland, Oregon and what they contribute in taxes to benefit the people in Portland, the city of Vancouver ranks among the highest. I know a few years ago we ranked fourth, and we by all comparison get very little in return for the taxes we pay. Now Oregon wants to use us as a piggy bank to make improvements in our bridges. We are easy victims because we lack no representation for the taxes that we pay.
It would be ridiculous to think that those of us who work in Oregon are not grateful for the opportunities afforded us, but we also give a lot in return. We need a representative who can go into Oregon and communicate to them that it is in their interest and it is in our interest to improve our roadways. The problems with our bridges and the congestion that it leads to affect everybody in the metropolitan area, and even though they don’t cross these bridges it would provide great benefits to everyone. If Oregonians didn’t benefit at all from these two bridges, then I would understand why we and we alone should pay for it, but that’s not the case. We are the ones stuck paying for it because we have no representation.
An answer that might benefit everyone involved is if we got Oregon to start collecting taxes from Washington people who go over there to get out of paying Washington state sales taxes; part of what they collect we could donate to improve our roads between the two states. It seems win-win to me.