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Monday, April 25, 2011

Tax Grandma out of her house -- it's for the children

Here's an interesting twist in the Portland school tax ballot measure saga: Super Carole is presenting two budgets tonight: one with the taxes passed and the other with them rejected. Another way to campaign on the taxpayers' dime?

Maybe not. According to Willy Week, "Top administrators are informing an unspecified number of administrative employees now that they will lose their jobs." Wait -- there are expendable people in administration? Seems like a reason to vote no.

Comments (25)

Looks like it will be channeling surfing between the Blazer game and Ch. 28 for the live PPS board meeting tonight.

I've decided that my household just can't afford these two measures, whether it's a worthy cause or not. I will probably vote no on the rehab bond, and yes on the operations levy.

For a change, I'm with Snards on this one. I want the school district to rethink its capital budget — both sources and uses — from the ground up. It's tempting to vote "no" on both because of anticipated water and sewer rate increases, but on balance I would rather see school operations funded. And of course there is waste in the budget. Waste happens. We have to be insistent about minimizing it, but not through out the baby with the bath water.

throw. THROW.

There was a very interesting letter to the editor in The O last week from a former-renter-now-homeowner who said that she is voting no on both measures because she cannot afford them. She adds that when she was a renter, until two years ago when she bought her home, she always voted yes on all school funding measures because she believed they didn't affect her.

I have never before voted against a school bond measure, but I am voting NO this time on my local measure, and urging friends in Portland to vote no on the PPS rehab measure.

What Portland Native said.

Those thinking about voting yes on the levy might want to read this first:

It appears the Portland school board is playing a little fast and loose with per-student spending figures, and they won't decline as much as they say.

Snards: "I will probably vote no on the rehab bond, and yes on the operations levy."

You are falling into their trap -- they want you to feel like you are being reasonable by voting for at least one. Send them a message (and let them know you won't be manipulated) and vote no on both. IMHO

I can't afford either. Schools are important but at what cost? Shouldn't they come to tax payers with a few house cleaning lists that have been accomplished first? Where is the good faith effort to save money before hand w/ details to potential voters?

It's ridiculous to trust they need the money because they are asking. Vote no!!!

All that PPS needs to do to cover their claim of operating costs is to speak up and demand common sense use of urban renewal. That would put at minimum an additional $68 Million in their pockets per year. Then, no damage to taxpayers. Vote no on both.

That's a good point, Doc. I'll think on it.

The only thing I know for sure is that every year we signal that we'll vote for higher property taxes, some agency will come back next year to see if we're still in the mood. As long as we say yes, they'll keep milking that cow.

I don't live in the PPS district. But whenever one of the TV commercial comes on, my response is whoever in charge of maintenance should have been fired years ago. Loose ceiling tiles should have been glued back as it happened. Same with the leaky pipes. Other than the asbestos, none of those repairs shown takes much time, money or expertize to fix if taken care of promptly. If I were in charge of maintenance at PPS, I would be ashamed to see these commercials.

Such terrible stewardship of the schools should not be rewarded. The deferring of maintenance on the schools borders on malfeasance. Vote "NO" on both measures.

TomC, good point. I'm thinking those TV ads will backfire. Those depicted items are things that most building owners would repair quickly and have it in their budget. Reputable full-time custodians would be repairing those items without even having a 6 to 9 months work-order process followed.

A recent example of school malfeasance is a local building contractor visiting his child's school and noting that a three riser wooden steps to a frequently used exit had one riser 9" high while the others were 7". He pointed that out to the school superintendent and custodian, and noted the two code violations and that many of the older people that used the steps could easily misstep. Six months later he happens to come back, same problem. Janitor said he didn't have time to fix it. I guess that should justify a 1/2 $Billion dollar bond measure.

It's been maybe 10 years now since the city issued its report that children "weren't the economic future of Portland" or some such insult and that it would reprioritize services to encourage "young active singles" instead.

I know there are dedicated people working for PPS, but any children left or younger than 10 are basically being held hostage by politicians that operate under the assumption you love "the Florence of America" (as Mr. Leonard has put it) so much that you'll pay for anything.

Re: Lee's point about urban renewal dollars being siphoned from schools, when I think about all the tax-abated skinny houses around my neighborhood paying no taxes, it reinforces my no vote for both measures. These people should have to pay, too. They use the same services I do, yet I get stuck paying the bill.

Both these measures are extortion, just like the fire trucks vote last year. They never give us the choice over whether we want our tax dollars to go to the junk they build. But when it comes time to fund schools or fire trucks, they say the sky will fall in if they don't have still more of our incomes. Of course given the choice, Portland citizens would vote for schools & fire trucks over trams, streetcars, soccer stadiums, SoWhat and other toys. But City Hall doesn't ask that. They spend our money on the junk first and then come back for more for the essentials. This taxpayer is sick of it.

The current levy runs for another year, so a no vote does not leave the schools levy-less. It just signals that a 74% rise in the levy at this time is too much. They can come back and ask again next year or next election.


Tax abatements do NOT reduce the property taxes to $0, not even close.

Tax abatements do NOT reduce the property taxes to $0, not even close.

I guess that depends on your definition of "close", Pragmatic Portlander. Tax-increment financing for a lot of the condo projects meant that the property owners only paid taxes on the land, not the capital improvements (which is where most of the property tax revenue comes from). You can find countless examples just by perusing the Multnomah County tax records such as the one for this condo project. Only $138 a year for a million dollar condo. But I guess both a million dollars and $138 are pretty far from $0 depending on how you look at it.

The market value of that condominium is shows as $1.4 million, meaning that its tax-assessed value would be about 70% of that, or about $1 million, and if it were charged taxes at the ordinary rate the property taxes would be about $21,000/year instead of the $138 that's the actual number. Put another way, the taxpayers in the rest of the city, county, and school district are subsidizing the services that this property demands by about $21,000/year.

In regards to urban renewal stealing money from schools, have you noticed how PPS and the media, especially the Oregonian, mostly ignores this very important component of a simpler solution to help our children?

In fact, the PPS Board as well as individuals on the Board have been informed with specific background info on how UR affects their budget. Same information has been given to the media, but all ignore it. What does Sam have over them? It should be the other way around. The stealing by UR should be a major opposition point in these two school bond measures. Fix UR before asking bankrupt average taxpayers for school funding/repair bailouts.

Tax Grandma out of her house -- it's for the children

How about taxing half the city out of Portland by the time they are done extracting every dollar they can??

No children will want to stay here and pay the enormous debt piled up by financial misfits.

So what is left?
A deserted city in ruins. . . . once those tax abatements are gone, half of the Pearl may leave too!

meant - How about taxing half of the citizens out of Portland...

The Pearl gets Jamison Square Park and a fancy neighborhood for $138.00 in taxes???

The folks in East Portland pay a whole lot more and get less. The only thing they get more of are the high density housing complexes that devalue the nice neighborhoods that existed before being annexed into the city. Believe me, the housing projects in this area sure don't look like the Pearl!

How many of these tax abated condos are there in the Pearl?

Thirty-two persons in the central office were laid off on Monday before the Board of Education meeting. Central office comprises (now) less than 4% of the total PPS budget. Four percent is less than half of the national average for urban school districts' central administration costs.


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