Mayor eyes phone tax to help pay for police reform

Mayor eyes phone tax to help pay for police reform

PORTLAND, Ore. - Landline phone companies, and ultimately their customers, could be tapped to help pay for police reforms under a new proposal by Mayor Sam Adams.

According to the mayor, some phone companies are benefiting from a loophole in the city's tax code, which allows them to pay less than their competitors. Adams wants to close that loophole and use the tax revenue to pay for police reforms that are required by the city's agreement with the Department of Justice.

Of course, that would mean the phone companies would raise their rates to compensate. According to the city, folks with a landline could see their bill increase anywhere between 32 cents to 77 cents a month. That translates to roughly $4 to $9 a year.

It's not very much, but for the city it would add up to millions.

At that would help pay for the police reform, training and oversight that the Department of Justice is requiring after they found in September that police officers had engaged in a "pattern or practice of excessive force against people with mental illness."

Adams has asked for a half hour this coming Thursday to pitch his tax plan to the City Council, right after he lobbies the council to expand Portland's plastic bag ban.