I'm not too swift sometimes. The last few days I was wondering why the Portland Public School District was sending me e-mail messages touting the fact that my property taxes were going down this year due to the expiration of some school levies. Check out this sunny missive from the other day:
Portland, Ore. -- Multnomah County mails the first property tax bills starting Tuesday, and property owners in the Portland Public Schools district are in for a nice surprise: Unlike just about everyone else in the Portland area, they'll be paying less. Much less.
Two Portland Public Schools property tax measures expired June 30: the five-year local option tax that paid for some 200 teachers' positions and the 10-year construction bond levy. The Portland School Board chose not to ask voters to renew those measures last November, when the repeal of the local income tax was on the ballot. Without those taxes, Portland Public Schools will collect 32 percent less this year, a drop of $61 million.
That translates into significant savings for individual taxpayers. According to Dave Boyer, the county's Chief Financial Officer, the typical owner of a home assessed at $150,000 will see their school property taxes drop by $312, while school taxes on a $300,000 assessed home will drop by $629. (Note that on average the taxable, assessed value of a home in Multnomah County is just over 60 percent of its real market value.)
Today it finally dawned on me -- that's just the sound of the first shoe dropping. The other one's about to fall soon: "Please vote for a new regional income tax for schools."