2019.09.30.EMG.SEN.atrium building-1.jpg

The Atrium Building in downtown Eugene, Ore. houses Eugene city government offices. (Sarah Northrop/Emerald)

Eugene voters approved a payroll tax cap in the city of Eugene in Tuesday’s Special Election that yielded an estimated 25% voter turnout, according to Lane County Elections.

The payroll cap measure, filed last July, aims to limit the tax on payroll imposed by the city and limits its use to go towards community safety services and tax administration. It is slated to go into effect after June 2020.

A payroll tax is a portion of an employee's salary that is withheld by the employer and paid to the government for services like Social Security and Medicare, according to the Tax Foundation.

Based on the unofficial results as of 10 p.m. on election night, Eugene’s 123,344 registered voters, 23,521 voted yes to the payroll tax and 5,150 voted no, resulting in a total of 28,671 votes. Official results will be certified Nov. 25.

“The turnout we would have liked to see it higher, but we know voters are motivated by what’s on the ballot,” Cheryl Betschart, county clerk and election manager, said.

Under the new measure, payroll taxes will not exceed Eugene’s current rates of 0.0021% tax on wages paid by employers and 0.0044% tax on wages earned by employees, according to the measure.

The measure also limits the spending of these taxes to community safety services such as police services and fire or medical emergency services and municipal court services.

In Lane County, voters approved measures filed for the city of Coburg and Santa Clara that yielded 405 and 2,118 votes respectively, according to the statement of votes.