Sheriff wants a Sale Tax!

On March 14th, 2022, I had the opportunity to listen to a proposal the Sheriff made to the Grants Pass City Council where he asked the city to support his proposal for a seasonal sales tax in Josephine County.

3/14/22 City Council Workshop / Public Safety Funding (YouTube 39:00 – 1:03:30)

The proposed Law Enforcement Retail Activities Tax which I am calling the “RAT” tax would add an additional 3% to your bill for 6 months out of the year. Not all items would be taxable but dining out or major purchases would be, for example if you wanted to purchase a $2,000 sofa (tax is capped at $2,000 per purchase) you would pay an additional $60 in taxes.

According to the Sheriff, Taxes collected would go into a Law Enforcement Trust Fund and then be used as deemed necessary by Law Enforcement to fund “Law Enforcement Functions”, whatever they determined those to be.

The proposal as presented by the Sheriff estimates that the Sheriff’s Office could receive approximately $4,453,047 annually while Grants Pass Police could receive $3,726,467 and Cave Junction could receive $208,746.

 Grants PassCave JunctionJosephine County
From the Sheriff’s Presentation based on 2022 census

I did some math on this and the numbers like all other numbers out of the Sheriff just don’t make sense.

Based on the Sheriff’s numbers, he expects the RAT tax to collect approximately 8,388,260 during the six-month period which would mean that the total sales of taxable items under $2,000 in the same period would be $279,608,666.67 ($280 Million for 6 months).

That means that without tourist dollars, every individual in Josephine County would have to spend $3,178.57 in six months to raise that amount of money or $530 per person of ALL ages per month.

Even if we were to generously assume that tourist would generate 25% of the estimated funds ($2,097,065), Residents would still need to spend $6,291,195 in total or $2,384 per individual ($397 per month) to reach the stated tax revenue.

On Wednesday night 3/30 at the town hall meeting, I asked the Sheriff where he came up with his absurd numbers and at first, he played off that they were not his numbers and then finally admitted that he got them for a city in the state of Washington. Why would the Sheriff or anyone for that matter base Josephine County expense patterns off a city in Washington State?

The Sheriff is also considering:

  • Income Tax
  • Law Enforcement Taxing District (all properties outside the city limits) of .85 – .87 per 1,000
  • Retail Activities Tax
  • A Law Enforcement Levy

How many taxes does the Sheriff need to propose before we wake up and realize that maybe a fresh look at the budget and operations is needed?

Please vote Jonathan Knapp for Josephine County Sheriff.

Jonathan L. Knapp For Josephine County Sheriff