The Oregon House has passed a bill that allows financially struggling timber counties to use measures other than property taxes to raise money for public safety.
The bill went to the Senate for a vote Monday after passing the House 49-10.
Rural counties that once depended on federal timber revenues have been struggling to pay for sheriff's patrols, jails and prosecutors since a federal safety net expired. Voters have refused to raise taxes to fill the gap.
The bill, HB 3453, would allow the governor to declare a public safety emergency and gives counties the power to impose an income tax, a tax on 911 services or other assessments.
The state would cover half the costs of public safety, and the county half.