Portland Officials Mulling Tax on Truckers

Kevin Anderson Regulations, Transportation

While the proposal of a new gas tax in Portland is being proposed and voted on by Portland citizens, some city officials are trying to figure out a way to include trucking companies to help share the load. The newly proposed tax will not have an effect on truck drivers, because it only applies to gas sold.

The framers of the proposed gas tax did include diesel in the proposal for one reason. They did not want to punish one of the only local service stations that serves big-rigs. If the price of diesel were raised, the fear was that truck drivers would skip stopping at that station and drive elsewhere to fill up. This would likely cost jobs, economic contribution in other ways, and possible failure of the station.

$2.5 Million Gap

The gap that officials want to fill amounts to $2.5 million. In order to do that, they have floated a somewhat complex plan that raises taxes on truck drivers, albeit not at the gas pump. There are several justifications for the newly proposed tax. Included among those justifications is the fact that large trucks continue to use the roads in and around Portland, and if other drivers are being asked to pony up more money by way of a tax, truck drivers should too.

This plan, if passed, would use the amount of money a trucker or company pays to the state in weight-mile taxes. According to projections, adding an additional 2.8% tax to the overall amount paid in weight-mile taxes in a year should fill the $2.5 million gap. So, for example, if a trucking company pays $10,000 a year in weight-mile taxes, Portland would then assess an additional $280 as a heavy vehicle use tax.

One interesting part of this plan is how it will be implemented, no matter whether the gas tax goes into effect or not. This is another of many examples where governments look to private industries suspected of having enough to bear a burden to get money and resources. Regardless of a company’s ability to pay, or the impact a new tax would have on local business, many times they are simply passed and then the best is hoped for as a result.

As this new tax shows, each new day brings with it the potential for some change in the law related to truckers, trucking companies, and the transportation industry. Few industries are regulated on the scale that the transportation industry is. As we see here, from the city imposing city level taxes, to the state regulating and taxing, to the federal government implementing rules, plans and regulations for interstate travel, at every level the trucking industry is told what to do and how to do it.

It can be a daunting task for a trucking company and those who run it to attempt to understand and comply with all this regulation. That is where a seasoned, knowledgeable, and reliable legal partner can be so helpful to a transportation company. At Anderson and Yamada, P.C., we have been advising and representing trucking companies for decades. We can help your company navigate through every aspect of legal compliance, litigation, and regulatory understanding. Contact us, and let us be your company’s legal partner.