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EDITORIAL: Ontario city officials stumbled in pushing sales tax

With Oregonians’ historic distaste for sales taxes, it’s remarkable that Ontario officials embraced the idea as their new budget strategy.

City sales taxes are almost as rare as hen’s teeth in Oregon. Just two cities have a sales tax; Ashland and Yachats voters approved 5 percent levies about a decade ago. Unlike Ontario’s plan, those cities tax only restaurant food and non-alcoholic beverages, and were drafted in part to tap the wallets of their abundant tourists.

Other cities have shied away from the idea, and Oregonians in general have been more than cool to the sales tax. Statewide voters rejected sales tax proposals nine times in 90 years, despite arguments that this new revenue source would smooth the state’s budgetary roller coaster. The refusals included three measures defeated in the 1930s alone, as other states began embracing the taxes to fund their growing governments. Just . . .