Grants Pass Restaurants and Bars Taxed 3%

GRANTS PASS, Ore. — Grants Pass restaurants and bars must pay a 3% food and beverages tax to help fund public safety. The proposal was approved last night at a city council meeting, when a public safety utility tax was also approved. The previously contentious proposal to introduce a general sales tax in Grants Pass will not happen.


Additional Funding Will Maintain Policing and Firefighting Services

The city council has introduced the tax to help maintain its 24/7, 365 days a year public safety services – policing and firefighting – suffering an estimated $3.3 million shortfall in funding.

Grants Pass Professional Firefighters vice-president Bracken Sharp says while they “love” serving the citizens, the department desperately needs additional funding.

Although several citizens at last night’s council meeting opposed any additional taxation, they agreed that having a compromised public safety service is not an option.

Grants Pass Mayor Sara Bristol assured all present that the council had not made this decision lightly. She said the additional taxation was necessary to secure the city’s public safety and financial security.

Councilor Valerie Lovelace told the meeting that funding public safety with a tax was “the least we can do” for the citizens of Grants Pass.


Restauranteur Backlash

The council decision has met with a backlash of protest from local restauranteurs who are still trying to recover financially from the 2020 pandemic.

Related: Chamber Of Commerce For Grants Pass And Josephine County Oppose New Food And Beverage Tax

Laughing Clam owner Keturah Alger says she has been trying to devise a formula for success since 2020. By adding another expense, the council will deter residents from eating out. Another concern, says Alger, is that Grants Pass citizens will go elsewhere to spend their money at the expense of local restaurant owners.

The owner of Hawaiian restaurant 808 Ohana Grindz, Angie Davis, says most of her clientele are retirees living on fixed incomes. While 3% may not sound like much, “it is a lot” for older people to pay. She agrees with Alger that the food and beverages tax could shunt people out of Grants Pass. Davis feels the council should find the additional funds required to maintain public safety services elsewhere.

Both restauranteurs concede that additional public safety funding is needed to address policing, firefighting, and homelessness but question why the restaurant industry must bear the brunt of the taxation.

The cost of an average-priced restaurant meal in Oregon is between $50 and $75, adding between $1.50 and $2.25 to the price of a meal.

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  1. Bg Frappier says

    not sure why every year the police and city have to ask for another levy, I thought that’s why the city set budgets, 1.maybe we should have someone who has budget experience take control and set realistic budgets and then make them stick to it. 2. stop giving yourselves raises when we can’t afford gas for the city P.D. or sheriff cars. some of the council persons wages. good, bad or indifferent just a few ideas.

  2. Bobbi says

    I hope this site is for adding tax to restaurants and bars!
    How deplorable! These people are barely hanging on with the China virus abs ni one wanting to work! These officials are going to put them out if business!! Let’s get rid if these city council members and put some in that understand economics and life period! Shame on you all!!

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