Two things missing in the State of Oregon

While the City of Portland has a lot to offer to travelers there are two things of note that we do not have:

  1. There is no sales tax in Oregon. The price on the tag at the store or price of the meal on the menu is the price you pay. Sales taxes are assessed by every state except Alaska, Delaware, Montana, New Hampshire and Oregon. A lot of people who live in SW Washington will come across the river to shop for large ticket items. The Costco just a mile or so from the I205 freeway bridge which connects the States of Oregon and Washington used to be known as one of the busiest of all Costco warehouses. There is a newer Ikea just off of the freeway bridge that is packed with cars in the lot with Washington license plates. When I go to Seattle for business or when I have gone there to do power Christmas shopping downtown I try to remember to show my Oregon drivers license to the clerks before they begin to ring up my purchases. Washington sales tax laws exempt Oregonians from paying the tax. I can’t tell you how many times I have eaten at restaurants in Washington with a group of people that includes other Oregonians and  when paying the bill we have come up short because people have forgotten to add sales tax in along with the cost of their meal and tip.
  2. Oregon is one of two states in the USA that you are not allowed to pump your own gas at the gas station. The other is New Jersey. No, that does not mean that gas is higher because of this law. I can go across the river to Washington State and pay a higher price per gallon to pump my own gas. “The Oregon statute banning self-service gasoline lists seventeen different justifications, including the inflammability of gas, the risk of crime from customers leaving their car, the toxic fumes emitted by gasoline, and the jobs created by requiring mini service. In addition, the ban on self-service gasoline is seen as part of Oregonian culture. One commentator noted, “The joke is when babies are born in Oregon, the doctor slaps their bottom, ‘No self-serve and no sales tax’ [. . .] It’s as much a cultural issue as an economic issue. It’s a way of life.” In 1982, Oregon voters rejected a ballot measure sponsored by the service station owners, which would have legalized self-service gas.”
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4 Responses

  1. Two interesting facts! I knew about the no pumping your own gas in NJ. The sales tax repicrocal agreement is interesting…I don’t think NH has that. When I visit my family we usually go to NH to shop–they live in a border town.

    • I think more people probably don’t know about the reciprocal tax agreement than know about. Like I said I often times forget about it.

  2. I was so surprised years back when I was in Oregon and they wouldn’t let me pump my own gas. Now that I know about it I am the ultimate in lazy and I’ll drive from Washington to Oregon for my gas just so I don’t have to get out of the car.

    When I was in Hawaii 10 years back they required the gas stations to be full service. That very well could have changed by now. My first experience in NJ was funnier though because I was in a bad neighborhood and though I was about to get mugged when this man in a turbin came running across the parking lot at me as I was filling my tank.

    I Love the NO SALES TAX. I know the Costco you are talking about and I don’t go there just because it’s so busy.

    I hope to be back in your area in a few weeks to enjoy someone else pumping my gas.

    • Most gas stations in Hawaii are no longer full service. I will pay more to fill up the rental car if they have an attendant to do it for me. A couple of years ago when I filled up on Maui the attendant stood leaning on the car talking to me and joking about what a novice I was when it came to pumping gas. Geesh! He could have just done it for me. Nice local guy though.

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