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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Willy Week picks up anti-library chant

Portland's middle weekly today sets out the official Portland City Hall case against a Multnomah County library taxing district, here. "It will hurt the children!" Straight from the mouth of their hero, city commissioner Legend Saltzman. On the front page, no less.

They're running cover for Farquaad Cogen, Saltzman spawn and county chair, who'd rather not put the library district up for a vote, but who will catch a boatload of grief if he doesn't.

In the meantime, the following is supposed to get you to not want the library district. It's what the crazy Oregon phenomenon called property tax "compression" takes away from various government agencies. The argument is that the library district will make "compression" even worse. We like the library, but we can't say the same for these birds:

Port of Portland
Taxes expected: $9.9 million
Lost to compression: $162,223

Taxes expected: $12.3 million
Lost to compression: $223,065

East Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District
Taxes expected: $4 million
Lost to compression: $146,205

Multnomah County
Taxes expected: $249.9 million
Lost to compression: $9.8 million

City of Portland Permanent Rate
Taxes expected: $211.8 million
Lost to compression: $10.3 million

Portland Urban Renewal Special Levy
Taxes expected: $14.9 million
Lost to compression: $736,226

Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund Levy
Taxes expected: $114.2 million
Lost to compression: $5.6 million

Portland Urban Renewal Division of Tax
Taxes expected: $106.4 million
Lost to compression: $9.7 million

Library Levy
Taxes expected: $51.7 million
Lost to compression: $16.8 million

Historical Society Levy
Taxes expected: $2.9 million
Lost to compression: $954,716

Portland Children’s Levy
Taxes expected: $18.8 million
Lost to compression: $7.6 million

Anything that takes property tax revenues away from the Portland Development Commission is a hit in our book.

The louder the argument against the taxing district, the more we like it. Saltzman can cry his crocodile tears "for the children," but all he'd have to do if there were a library district would be to change the city's policies to stop enriching real estate tycoons -- like himself. If it comes down to the PDC or the library, most Portlanders want the library.

If the library taxing district doesn't get on the ballot in November, eventually it will. Library supporters, who clearly represent the majority of county residents, would need to craft another ballot measure that flat out creates the district, rather than handing it to the politicians to decide. That's what they should have done the first time around in 2010, anyway. They told voters they were getting the politicians out of the funding process, but as we pointed out here, that argument was simply a lie. It was one of several told in the first campaign on this question.

There is going to be a library taxing district sooner or later. Saltzman, master architect of the decline and fall of Portland, needs to get used to it.

Comments (17)

"Portland Fire and Police Disability and Retirement Fund Levy
Taxes expected: $114.2 million
Lost to compression: $5.6 million"

How exactly does the levy work? Is it like the URD that caps the amount assessed going to the original tax? Also the ProRates (like PoP barely gets dinged) seem skewed.

I gotta admit, if it really does take money from all of those people and puts it into the library EXCLUSIVELY, it does have its appeal.

One effect will be to free up some money at the county level for other county services. I nominate mental health services, because there are far too many dangerous lunatics roaming around Portland these days. But who knows? With Farquaad and Shipwreck running things, the county will probably blow it on something "iconic."

Looks like Saltzman & the Developer Public Debt Mongers are just gonna have to man-up and get themselves some compression bandages. Bloated bastards. The bandit party's coming to an end, fellas.

If City Hall doesn't like it, maybe they need to rethink all the credits and URAs they've handed out like candy, which has removed funding from many other agencies which has resulted in this massive disaster.

Maybe a one-time elimination of all URAs, and a prohibition on any new URAs, might be in order. And fast.

Most Portlanders may want the library, but at the end of the day Portland Eloi always do what the Morlocks tell them to.

...a prohibition on any new URAs, might be in order. And fast.

Unfortunately, it takes longer to put broken pieces together than the breaking of it.
Have you ever seen such a fast track that Adams, and all pulled on the "education" URA?
Speaking of the breaking of our city, we need brakes on the agenda,
it just doesn't look likely with the "next city council" and in some ways looks even worse!

Jack; it's not nice to call the City Council and County Commission "dangerous lunatics"!

You realize, of course, that the only reason they need to vote on the library is because urban renewal has "compressed" the library budget. So a vote for the library is, in effect, a vote for urban renewal.

Yep, the library taxing district looks like a very good start. That looks like about $62 million less for other things, which may force some hard decisions that are necessary. Bring it on!

If only it would "compress" or keep constant my overall prop tax. Instead it will raise it somewhat. Much less than the school bond however. Just never stops.

I agree more with antiplanner that voting for the library district is voting for misuse of urban renewal and the continuation of other harmful interconnected agendas of the county and city. I'm surprised that Jack doesn't see the "eggs in one basket" argument.

If you believe in the library district, then maybe we should have a water district, a sewer/stormwater district, etc. But do you think CoP or the County would reduce the property taxation or fees to reflect those district services? Or control the rate of increase for all the reasons that they fabricate?

I like voting on the library levy every three years-a reality check and a little debate is needed, and you don't get that with a taxing district.

It's getting down to "what do we pay taxes for?" for the little basic services we receive.

But do you think CoP or the County would reduce the property taxation

Property taxes are limited by the state constitution. The library district would to some extent take funds from other functions and hand them to the library.

"Urban renewal" would get less money than it gets now if the library district in place. That would be a good thing. The library isn't wrecking neighborhoods, it's helping to preserve them.

So a vote for the library is, in effect, a vote for urban renewal.

Exactly wrong.

Mult Co libraries are still all about mission creep and making themselves relevant. Where else can you go to get free music (didn't know that until the rant yesterday) free videos, free computer usage. If it was just about books and preserving neighborhoods, it would be an easy decision. It's not. It's about growing the current structure and protecting jobs, salaries and those lovely pers benefits.

The problem is not "compression". The problem is an inequitable property tax system that taxes two houses with exactly the same market values differently. Some people end up paying more than their fair share and others pay less. Compression simply limits how high the inequity will get by limiting property taxes to $15 per $1,000 in market value. A lot of people pay less than that. Some, like me, pay that amount. Portland leaders talk as if you eliminate compression and everything will be better. What it really means is that some taxpayers will be more screwed than they already are.

Daveg said it well. And free porn, don't forget that critically important part of battling censorship. It's so important for folks to be able to watch porn on taxpayer-funded computers that MultCo librarians turned down federal money because it was contingent upon installation of filtering software.

I've never voted for funding those jerks since, and don't plan to this time around, either.

And you will lose again and again and again.

You may have noticed that printing information on paper is going out of style. The library has to adapt to that. As for music, well, there has been music on loan from libraries since the phonograph was invented.

Max, aren't you a PERS pensioner?

Max, aren't you a PERS pensioner?

Actually, I was referring to Daveg's statement regarding mission creep, but in reply to your query: yes - and a 401k and IRA pensioner, which is how I was able to get out.

Rather than spending my cost-of-living increases, I rolled them into the latter accounts, along with defined contributions. I receive a massive $1400 payment from PERS; considerably less than the disbursements from the other accounts.

You may have noticed that I rarely comment when people rail on about those great PERS benefits; I'm aware that some folks who were actually in the program for 30 years or so made out like bandits, though I suspect that many more - like me - were not in the program long enough to achieve such rarified status.

I retired because (1) I saved toward that goal and (2) the increasing bureaucracy became unbearable. Example: the state has passed guidelines which aim to establish a manager/staff ratio of 1/11. In some departments where I was, it had swollen to 1/3. After a while, you get tired of tripping over them all day.

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