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November 16, 2023

Salem, Oregon voters strike down new Safe Salem payroll tax

On November 7, 2023, over 81% of Marion County, Oregon's voters voted against the City of Salem's new payroll tax, which was set to go into effect July 1, 2024.


On July 10, 2023, the Salem City Council passed Ordinance Bill No. 12-23, which, effective July 1, 2024, would have created a new Safe Salem payroll tax of 0.814% on wages and self-employment income earned within the city limits. The tax on wages would have applied to employees earning more than the minimum wage.

The payroll tax would then have been referred to voters by July 31, 2031, and if sufficient votes were obtained, the tax would have ended effective December 31, 2031.

Revenues from the Salem payroll tax would have addressed a budget deficit of $19.4 million that is anticipated by fiscal year 2028.

On August 14, 2023, the City of Salem announced that sufficient signatures were collected to place the Safe Salem payroll tax on the November 7, 2023 ballot, leaving voters to decide if the tax will be imposed.

Ernst & Young insights

As a result of the Marion County election results on November 7, 2023, the Safe Salem payroll tax is repealed.

Employers should keep in mind that there continue to be many Oregon local payroll taxes that continue to remain in effect.


Contact Information
For additional information concerning this Alert, please contact:
Workforce Tax Services - Employment Tax Advisory Services
   • Kristie Lowery (
   • Kenneth Hausser (
   • Debera Salam (

Published by NTD’s Tax Technical Knowledge Services group; Andrea Ben-Yosef, legal editor