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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 11, 2012 10:44 AM. The previous post in this blog was Speaking of those Portland State peer mentors. The next post in this blog is The only mitt here is leather. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Here comes the hype for the Portland arts tax

The powers that be are planning to ask Portland voters this fall to jack up their taxes for all sorts of stuff -- as if the hefty increases to their sewer, water, and garbage bills weren't enough of a burden. And they're already starting with the propaganda. Here's the party line on the proposed arts tax, dutifully delivered by the regurgitators in the local business media.

Nonprofit arts and culture organizations generate more than $253 million in economic activity in the Portland area, according to a new nationwide study.

The proposed arts tax would be a $35 head tax, with an exemption for low-income individuals. Its constitutionality is questionable.

Comments (28)

The fact that they generate $253 MN a year is evidence that a tax is not needed. And if a tax is needed, they should tax those that buy arts and culture, such as a tax on gallery sales and live theater tickets. That way the people experiencing the greater benefit are paying for the perceived need.

Special tax here, special tax there-pretty soon you have to wonder what you get for your base taxes (not much).

A head tax ?
I'm safe then..
I don't smoke pot

Don't the "arts" already receive 10% of all taxes by law? What do they need more for?
This sounds like another magic pot of money dreamed up by CoP to raid.

Question: will the Portland electorate fall for it?

Same old game - make us pay extra for the stuff everybody wants and fund crap nobody wants but the insiders with the base tax revenue.

Time for this game to stop - refuse any new taxes, regardless of the purpose.

If we're going to put to the voters every single special tax, what do we need the council for?

Don't forget the $450 million in new property taxes that PPS wants to help its friends in in the construction business.

So if we assume there is about a million people in the Portland metro area, they want to charge $35 per head on $253 of economic "activity." That's almost 14% when Oregon's income tax is only 9%. This calculation ignores the fact that (a) not all one million people actually have to pay and (b) not all one million people actually benefit from the "activity." If you live east of 82nd Avenue and never come downtown, do you really care about the fancy new art installation in the Pearl?

what do we need the council for?

Best question I've heard in a long while.

Possible answer: to manage an electorate that prefers living in a dream.

Portland Commissioner Randy Leonard said he would vote to refer the arts measure, and Commissioner Nick Fish said he was likely to support it.

Since Leonard is into referring the arts measure to the voters, how about referring his request for another $75 million in revenue bonds for PWB capital projects?

Council is slated to vote for this Wednesday, (June 13) against the objections of concerned citizens at last week's budget hearing. Apparently, many people have been calling them about this.

http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=50265&a=399414

Authorization of Bonds. The Council hereby authorizes the issuance of a principal
amount of water revenue bonds that is sufficient to provide net proceeds of $75 million to
finance the Capital Improvements under the Act, plus the additional amounts that the
Debt Manager determines are reasonably required to finance costs related to the water
revenue bonds, including but not limited to the costs of funding debt service reserves for
those bonds (the "Bonds"). No series of Bonds may be sold and no purchase agreement
for any series of Bonds maybe executed until this ordinance takes effect. This ordinance
will take effect thirty days after it is enacted unless it is referred. If this ordinance is
referred this ordinance will not take effect and the City may not sell the Bonds unless the
voters approve the Bonds.

Since we are at it, how about Leonard referring all the millions he spends to the voters for approval? He has 203 days left to get us further into debt!!

Back around 1964, the late, great Illinois Republican Senator Everett Dirksen put it well: "A billion here and a billion there, and pretty soon you're talking real money."

He was opposing raising the federal debt ceiling to $383 billion.

"Generate $253 million in economic activity in the Portland area" means something different and less valuable than "Bring $253 million from other places to the Portland metropolitan area."

"Nonprofit arts and culture organizations generate more than $253 million in economic activity in the Portland are"

I'm sure they had to throw in a lot of numbers to reach that $250M (like parking lots and babysitters).

So if that means each ticket is about $20 per visit (per the article), then I think we should include bars and strip clubs in the culture bag. I know plenty of times visitors have spent more than $20 per visit.

Second, giving govt money for state art just means we'll have friends and family deals galore. As an example, Sam was in a "relationship" with the theater troupe director that is now the main user of the Armory theater that Vera saw fit to pour all kinds of money into. At the time, I believe the Performing Arts center he rented had plenty of capacity for his stage shows. Of course, who knows if the guy can pay his rent on the Armory.

Third, if they are so hot on a tax, why not put it on tickets (a la a user fee) instead of a general tax?

Because the beneficiaries don't want to scare away ticket sales.

Ticket sales are already scary since Ticketmaster, etc. got into the mix. Have you compared the difference between the ticket itself and the ticket + "handling and processing" fees?

Since 10% of a project's budget has to go to art, I wonder it this is really all about somebody's project not "pencilling out" without a little extra help from the taxpayer?

It occurs to me that it's become harder and more expensive to rent in Portland as well since property management companies became the norm. We're being nickled and dimed to death by middlemen.

I correct myself... it's 1% for art, not 10%.

10% for Arts?

I think you're confused: the "1 percent for Art" was increased to "2% for Art" in the City of Portland (thanks to Sam).

That means that 2% of all new public buildings have to devote 2% of their construction budget to art installations: none of that money goes into operating funds for schools.

It did buy some fine Plop-Art at the pristine Wapato Correctional Facility. But nobody gets to enjoy it.

We received a "survey" phone call @ this P.O.S. tax a few months ago. I spent 20 minutes on the phone with the surveyor, giving what I thought were answers to stop this thing. My response didn't have any effect--shocking.

Jimbo -

when one receives one of those very early on "surveys" and responds negatively in detail, one gives the proponents an insight into potential opposition and helps the proponents "tailor" their "message" and campaign to overcome the objections you raise.

You have little chance, in a very early survey, of persuading the opponents to back off. Only way that a special tax proponent will back off early on in the process is to have an 80% plus negative response. The usual peddlers of the "its for the children" crapola know that they are not going to get that degree of negative response from the sheeple in PDX.

It makes me wonder how far along the agenda would have gotten without those "preferred surveys" as a means to an end!

Jack,
What's the constitutional issue? Did you cover that already?
Sarah

Ames, its the inequity clause. Taxes have to be applied equally and not exclude. Where is our new CoP Equality Bureau on this? I want equity on taxation.

But then again I won't be voting for it if it's even equal.

What's next from our wacko mayor? It seems lately that Sammyboy is announcing a weekly tax or fee increase - this arts rubbish including funding for some of his favorite non-profits. Yet another increase on tap is the hotel-motel tax so more weird and bias propaganda can be promoted to the rest of the universe.

What's next from our wacko mayor? It seems lately that Sammyboy is announcing a weekly tax or fee increase -

This may be his way of keeping the city afloat at least until he leaves.

Meanwhile, the council keeps on spending and putting us further into debt!

Did we really need a new office of Equity? The equity I see that needs to be addressed but most likely won't be in this office is "the insider game and perks" at the expense of the rest of the community.
How equitable is this "educational UR?"
How equitable are the water rates when an international corporation gets in here, 2nd highest water user but getting cheap rates and our schools pay five times the rate?
How equitable is it when we pay for public meetings/surveys only to have it be for show, not with real meaning of input or substance?
How equitable is it to continue paying for light rail when needed bus service for the community is cut?
How equitable is it when only three candidates are "presented" to the community for the next Mayor to step in?
The list is long.


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