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Ore. Board Is First To Support Sales-Tax Vote

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The board of commissioners for Multnomah County (Ore.) earlier this month became the first county in the state to support a vote on installing a 4-percent state sales tax.

The Oregon legislature drafted the new tax proposal in a special session last month, stipulating that a majority of the state's cities, counties, and school districts must signal their backing for a statewide vote before it can be held, in March or May of next year.

Property taxes currently provide about 60 percent of the operating funds for local schools; the state contributes 30 percent; and federal and miscellaneous sources provide the other 10 percent, according to Larry Austin, spokesman for the state department of education.

The introduction of a sales tax will take much of the tax burden away from property owners, observers say.

In 1981, the state's property-tax effort was 30 percent higher than the national average.--sr

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