This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on June 6, 2012 6:22 PM. The previous post in this blog was Milwaukie council: Full steam head on mystery train. The next post in this blog is Durant & Co. reach pro hoops finals. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

New Portland income tax would be anything but

This story is breathtaking in a couple of respects. First, they're back to trying to institute a local income tax to pay for Portland public schools. Second, it's not really an income tax at all -- they're calling for a head tax of $35 per person 18 years and older, with an exemption for low-income people.

The whole thing is as goofy as the Portland leaf tax. School supporters, come back and see us when you have something serious to propose.

Comments (29)

The Portland Climate Action Plan must not be stalled by mere lack of funding. The entire planet is at stake. We have to be creative in finding new ways to subsidize streetcars and condos otherwise it won't pencil out for the builders.

One positive thing about the CAN effort (described in the link), compared to previous efforts by the Portland City Council to figure out how to fund schools, is that the CAN group acknowledges that the city includes portions of six school districts, and is willing to direct funding to all six districts, not just to the Portland Public School District. (Reynolds and David Douglas need help far more than PPS does, because their administrations already run lean in proportion to dollars spent in the classroom.) Too often the City Council assumes that PPS is the city's lone school district because of the coincidence of names, rather like India asserting overlordship of the eponymous ocean.

The tax as proposed would, however, violate Article I, section 32 of the Oregon Constitution, which requires taxation to be uniform among the same class of people, and so it's a non-starter as proposed.

To quote Ronald Reagan: “here we go again”. After increasing water, sewer and runoff rates; reducing service and increasing garbage rates; and complaining there is not enough money in the transportation budget to pave and maintain streets while looting motorist paid gas tax dollars to pay for more bicycle infrastructure for a bunch of pedal slackers; our socialist dictator mayor Sammyboy has found yet another tax to abscond with more of our hard earned money. The simple fact is this whacko is nickel and diming the people of Portland to death. Given his appetite for increasing taxes and fees on city residents, he should be required to reduce his own salary (for the common good of the city budget) whereby it is no greater than the median income in Portland.

One other note: If some of the money would be going to non-profit art groups; then why shouldn't all non-profit groups of any kind also be allowed to receive and collect tax dollars from the city?

violate Article I, section 32 of the Oregon Constitution

Are you kidding? The Oregon constitution is at most a minor inconvenience for the City of Portland.

Isaac Laquedem is correct. If they have this tax it should apply to all the school districts in the city of Portland. I gotta say these people are A$$H0Ll3S in proposing this tax however. Multnomah County is about 4 years behind of the conservative political curve. Eventually the ultra PC left wing Kool Aid drinkers will see the light as they will be taxed to poverty and their Subaru’s with the Thule car top containers will not be allowed to park in their neighborhoods or drive on any street anymore. The goateed hipster baristas will even be priced out of sleeping on their friends couches. The whole city will implode. The only occupants will be cockroaches and drug addict street creeps with their pit bulls. Hooray for the left wing idiot class. Nick Fish go fu*k yourself. Why am I picking on Fish – because he represents all the PC left wing crap that is going on in this nice city. He and his ilk are going to ruin all that is left of Portland.

Wow, where is Steve Forbes. CAN just out flattened his flat tax!

This sounds more like a county animal license fee.

Ha Ha Ha!

Pay the OEA Pirates/Extortionists whatever they demand and then their drones in government/administration add a head tax to keep the Pirates/Extortionists employed.

This only works outside of Wisconsin.

What a crock. Hope it doesn't pass. Reinforces my desire to get the heck out of here, Portland is dead, long live Samrandastan

The city is marketing this all wrong.

The city needs a "City Residency Privilege Fee", a special fee for the exclusive benefit of living inside the esteemed City of Portland. As a City Resident you "voluntarily" pay the Residency Privilege Fee to take advantage of the excellent amenities and benefits available only to the residents of the greatest city in the world, Portland.

And since all people are equal, the fee is also equal - $1,000 per resident, per year. Man, woman and child. At 650,000 or so residents that privilege fee will raise $650 million a year, exclusively to better the city through targeted improvements in culture, the arts, recreation, sustainability, the environment, and livability.

Not the first time locally that tax dollars got handed to a non profit.

Multnomah County. Oregon Historical Society.


School supporters didn't propose this. The Creative Advocacy Network initiated the planning to try to improve financial support for the arts. But as the polling came in showing greater support for arts education than other arts programs (and as arts programs in all of our schools took a hit), the plan morphed into primarily supporting K-12 arts education.

Today's Junior Rose Parade demonstrated how much music education has been cut in the city. Strong band from David Douglas (props to them), but otherwise the vast majority of big marching bands were from Washington state.

Still not sure how I'd vote on this one.

Isaac, PPS may be leaner than you realize. The non-profit Chalkboard Project's Open Books Project breaks down costs in each school district based on the financial data reported to the state:


They say in PPS, 72% of the funding goes to teaching and student resources. (Other categories, in descending order, are: buses, buildings and food; principal's office; business services and technology; and central administration (which is 2% by their calculations -- but of course some of the other categories include centralized functions and operations).

For David Douglas, the figure is 74% spent on teaching and student resources, and for Reynolds it's 72%. The state average is 70%.

All pretty much in the same ballpark.

Sarah Carlin Ames
(no longer a PPS employee, but still a PPS parent and taxpayer)

huh??? makes NO sense at all, by hey "it's for the children".

Since when has CoP spent funding where it was supposed to? Any new source of revenue would only be another opportunity to be raided and siphoned off for other backroom purposes.

How long would it take to get the petitions out to put this on the ballot. My guess is about 10 seconds.

snowdog, the mayor is planning to ask the City Council to put it on the ballot in November. So no need to circulate petitions.

Sarah, in dollars spent I understand your point; however, in other respects - particularly administrative staffing -- PPS is out of step with the state's other large school districts. Compare PPS to Salem-Keizer, which serves 40,000 students compared to 44,000 for PPS. Staffing levels at PPS should be about 10% above those at Salem-Keizer. PPS actually has 15% more teachers than Salem-Keizer (2598 to 2259), which is a plus for PPS. On the other hand, PPS has 80% more administrators than Salem-Keizer (175 compared to 96). The Beaverton school district, which has 38,000 students, has only 94 administrators. Hillsboro, with 20,000 students, has only 56 administrators. Eugene, with 17,000 students, has 57 administrators.

The instant poll shows 60% against. Also, the poll results page displays a banner ad for Columbia Christian Schools - shrewd marketing.

What does any of this have to do with being PC?

Besides being a terrible idea in whole, it's rather self-defeating about the low income waiver part. The current state of PPS is such that everyone "graduating" in Portland is likely to end up poor thanks to a shitty education. There'd be no one eligible to pay this tax in 10 years.

PPS reminds me of the gambler who continues to double down in hopes of breaking its historic losing streak.
Ludomania "...an urge to continuously gamble despite harmful negative consequences...."

Why isn't this tax "progressive" ?

The "rich" should be paying their "fair share" for the children....

As a university educated engineer who who's raised three kids in Portland over the past 25 years, PPS might offer a sh***y education, but you can count on it being a PC and progressive one.

Woo hoo.

Sorry for going off topic.

But I would have figured you'd be all over the STATE INCOME TAX fraud story from the "O" yesterday @ 4:16pm:


Do I understand readers' comments correctly? Had she not made a claim for a "LOST CARD", she would have escaped detection?

The Revenue Department REALLY has NO METHOD in place to prevent this type of fraudulent "Turbo Tax" return or associated $ 2 MILLION refund via "debit card"?

And how many other income tax dependent entities (IRS?) are equally vulnerable?

I'm a blanket "No" on all new funding initiatives. Just can't afford it.

Once local agencies earn back our trust that they can spend money responsibly, I will reconsider new revenue intitiatives.

But never fear, the rich kids will still get a new Lincoln High School regardless. And isn't that what's really important?

What do they mean by "low income?" It would be useful to know where they draw the line.

Frank - my kids attend Columbia Christian schools. They can be a bit needy (asking for money and volunteers frequently) but on the whole the place is great.

Since my kids are in private school, can I be exempt from this stupid Art Tax?

And how many other income tax dependent entities (IRS?) are equally vulnerable?

Im sure you are familiar with the recent reports of immigrants claiming multiple children (some that dont even live in the country) and getting tens of thousands of dollars from the child tax credit?

Clicky Web Analytics