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Monday, March 18, 2013

Wheels coming off Portland arts tax

Suddenly, the mayor's talking about amending the $35-a-head Portland arts tax -- retroactively, on an emergency basis. But the amendments he's proposing do not appear to address the tax's unconstitutionality. At least one lawsuit over that issue has already been filed.

It's March 18. The tax is due April 15, and they still don't know what the rules are. Classic Sam Rand Twins.

The best move for the City Council would be to repeal this idiotic head tax immediately, and start over with something that actually works, effective in 2014. In any event, the collective nervous breakdown known as the Adams "administration" continues. Go by streetcar!

Comments (50)

So if a suit is filed and pending the local suckers have to pay for 2012 and 2013 anyway...? and if it is found unconstitutional what happens? the jokers at City Hall have to refund to each tax payer what was paid?? which also costs the taxpayers money....

Is that my only option? That or pay a fine when they figure out who to go after...?

I highly doubt the city has the time and resources to doggedly go after every person who don't pay this stupid tax.it costs a large amount of time and money to go after people in small claims court for a small amount of money.the county has a limited amount of civil deputies too.

"it costs a large amount of time and money to go after people in small claims court for a small amount of money"

The City has indicated that they will turn over unpaid accounts to collection agencies.

Don't pay, and have your credit rating ruined...

Do you have any timeline information on the lawsuit?

"The change would take place immediately and the Revenue Bureau would refund those who fall into that category but have already paid."

Ha ha! "Those who have already paid." Shouldn't be hard to track down all four of them.

Geez, Ms. Miller said nothing about a $1,000 threshold being appropriate when she and her Sam Adam cronies pushed a bias vote in their favor last November. Don't guess it would do any good to ask City Council in public testimony to reform the tax more thoroughly, and then resubmit to voters.
The whole definition of income is messed up as gifting and other non defined sorts of income are thrown in. The income tax is totally out of conformance with standard income tax processes and mechanisms.
Also, I tried to convince folks in last year's voter pamphlet, this City Council can amend this measure anytime they please, and there is nothing to stop them from jacking up the $35 fee or changing the terms of what activities receive the tax revenue.
Please, folks, seek out the taxpayer association of Oregon and sign the petition to require all new taxes and fees to be voted on by citizens; and not just passed by an impulse driven city council like the City of Portland's.
Also, is there any articles available announcing this lawsuit against the arts tax?
Thanks, Bojack.

Jack -

If you know, was the arts tax case filed in Multnomah Circuit or the Oregon Tax Court, and do you know he case number? Or Plaintiff's name? I want to get a copy of the complaint.


If the county can't even collect all of the license fees owed it for dogs, and apparently doesn't see engaging a collection agency as a financially viable solution, how insane would it be for the City of Portland to do so? My hope is that the whole thing will be found unconstitutional in short order so that we don't all bleed money chasing people at $35 a pop.

But the amendments he's proposing do not appear to address the tax's unconstitutionality.

Is unconstitutionality Hale's strong suit?

I do not think one's credit rating would be ruined by not paying this ridiculous tax. I am not going to pay this tax. If you are over 750 what do you have to worrry about?

"Is unconstitutionality Hale's strong suit?"

Nah, but wage law is (sick leave law).

Funny, how these clowns can fix all the 50-year out problems, but they can't fill a pothole or get 2/3rds of the kids to graduate high school.

No wonder Hillsboro is passing them by.

An unpaid library fine can harm a credit rating.

What? I have to hear about it from WW? I always come here for my scoop first!
Go, Jack.

Funny, how these clowns can fix all the 50-year out problems,...

They are big on these, the 2040 plan and others.
They like us to focus on what we need to do in the future, easier than focus on or have to answer to today's problems. These are the meetings where we have to plan for the millions more coming and how we have to sacrifice.

Funny, how these clowns can fix all the 50-year out problems, but they can't fill a pothole or get 2/3rds of the kids to graduate high school.

Hey, they can't be held accountable for 50-year out problems for fifty years. If they try to address current problems, someone might actually notice that they can't their asses with both hands.

It reminds me of a line from the movie Tremors:

"We plan ahead. That way, we don't have to do anything right now. Earl explained it to me."

Hales is quoted as saying the writers of the Arts tax measure didn't intend to tax young adults making a few bucks like dog sitting. THIS IS A COMPLETE, UNADULTERATED LIE! The City attorney acquiesced to this aspect of the Arts tax measure in Multnomah Circuit Court when the ballot was being challenged. This attribute was spoken of in front of the leader of the Creative Advocacy Network on several occasions by none other than Eric Fruits, in debate before the league of women voters and many others. It was attested to in newspapers.

This was not a surprise. Hales is starting to take on the aspect of being Sam Adams incarnate.

This just shows we are governed by impulse buyer types taking up the Mayor's seat and Councilor seats. They tell voters of all the grand things they are dreaming of for helping everyone, but forget these things have real world costs which cause us great economic underperformance locally.
My advice is to allow city hall to meet only twice a year and only for an hour each of these two times, including time for public testimony.
Take their credit cards away, and sign the petition to make any taxes and fees only permissible by the vote of a simple majority of citizens of Portland.
Or allow every voter in Portland a vote on every agenda item, eliminating the need for Commissioners and Mayor, via electronic or other methods. We are in the electronic age after all.

Great news!
Thank you.

i eonder if Sam Adams has already paid the tax.

Wheels coming off Portland arts tax

That sucker ran over a spike strip about 10 miles back.

Doing it yourself is one way to save the enormous legal fees.

This "art" to be interesting.

Jack - I hope you kill this one quickly. So many bad ideas keep leaking out of Portland the city needs to be inoculated.

I was surprised to see the voters passed this one in the November election. I sure as heck didn't vote for it. I remember some Yuppie mama stating that "everyone" could afforda mere $35.00 a year for "the arts."

Really? I am a Senior Citizen on a fixed income and I can barely afford groceries. But I don't qualify for the exemption they mention on the website. Too much Social Security. Hah!

What ever happened to it being the parent's responsiblity to supply their kids with color pencils and drums? I grew up in the inner city Chicago schools and they didn't give us kids that stuff. Our parents worked hard to do that because they felt it was their responsibilty.

If the parents want these things for their kids in the schools, they should have fund raisers. Actually I know some of the wealthier schools do. And they still get the benefit of this tax.

There ain't no justice. Just stupid politicans and even more stupid voters. Typical Portland mentality.

The whole school angle is a fraud. A lot of this money is earmarked for the ballet and the opera.

I highly doubt not paying this tax is going to ruin anyones credit rating.

Regarding the previous Mayor (and new Mayor too?) and Portland City Council for creating this insane tax:

"Power does not corrupt men; but fools, if they get into a position of power, corrupt power." - George Bernard Shaw

Hales and crew have precious little time to rid themselves of this embarrassment before it explodes in band aids, splints and court proceedings. Be Green- Repeal and Refund - while you can still take credit for making this hideous thing go away.

If PPS would spend wisely, we wouldn't be having this discussion.....Yes, I realize what wishful thinking sound like.

Go Jack Go!

Amanda--if a school works hard and has a fundraiser to benefit their school (ie, raising money for an art teacher), they have to give a percentage of the money they raise back to PPS to share with schools that didn't have fundraisers.

I can kind of understand this--a little--since schools in wealthier neighborhoods would probably have an easier time raising $$, but it's certainly a disincentive to get out and work hard.

Amanda: what is the name and number of the account into which PPS holds the money PPS receives from each fundraiser? And have you ever seen such entries yourself?

phl, michelle, amanda -

The inter schools sharing of local school fund raiser receipts never goes through any Porland Public Schools accounts. The somewhat shadowy Portland Schools Foundation (PSF) an Oregon public benefit non profit non member corporation,which has tax exempt status under 26 USC 501 (c), handles the funds raised by schools which get "shared".

And PPF, as opposed to PPS, is totally opaque. No Public Records Act requests, the act doesn't apply. About all there is in terms of disclosure and open ness is an annual IRS 990 form which can be accessed on line at a third party site and an annual report to the Oregon AG Charitable Activities Section. I think hat has to be accessed in person at he AG's Portland Office.

Its a sweet system. LOs of money flows around and only a very select few get to actually know what goes on with the money.

If an "outsider" starts asking questions, the wagons get circled, donations from PSF to the school the outsider is connected with dry up, and the whole "Portland polite" thing shifts into action.

And folks think Chicago is corrupt.

here we go again.Just another way they can take our money and use it anyway they want.Am I the only one that wonders where all the money goes and the schools keep closing???? Enough is enough lets do a revote!!!!!!

Jack: Thanks for taking this on; best of luck to you, and I hope this all goes quickly.

Way to go Mr. B. Thank you for your leadership.

I don't see how setting the "income" threshold to $1,000 helps. Their definition of "income" includes gifts, and I assume room and board counts as gifts, which is surely valued at more than $1,000. (Unless of course the amendment makes a second class of "income" that is actually earned "income".)

It seems to me that the whole point of such a broad, and weird, definition for "income" was to make this a head/poll tax.

I won't be paying a cent until this suit is settled.

Should the suit succeed, what becomes of the funds they've already collected? There's no way the city goes back on the ballet and symphony for the money. That wouldn't be nice. More likely, they pay the funds back out of the general fund. Thus giving the city another excuse not to pave streets. What a world.

$4 million a year forever to Symphony, Opera, - who charge big bucks for tickets, have generous donors, and large endowments to dip into. Sold as "For The Children™" to the hipster renters.

Are you accepting donations to defray the cost of the suit? If so, I'm in.

I was told by my neighbor, a grandmother whose two grandkids attend a PPS that a silent auction in which the awards included the bestowing of the services of some well known celebs around town were included.

I hesitate to say the name of the school district because I don't exactly remember other than I believe it was either the Irvington or Alameda neighborhood because I believe her kids live in one or the other of those areas but I can find out.

Apparently they do this every year and make a good sum of money.

If I can find out any additional details other than what my neighbor is aware of and has told me, I will be happy to share.

$1000 threshold? How is that fair to any individual on Social Security or Disability which the Federal Gov't does not count as income?

As usual, the City just "assumes." It assumes that $35 is not a big deal and anybody can pay it and not miss it. It assumes that everyone has access to a computer, email and the internet. It assumes that all citizens are potential payers of this tax (guilty) unless they go to the trouble to fill out a bunch of forms, cough up personal information and prove themselves exempt (innocent). And then it makes it all so confusing that the elderly and those without resources can only wring their hands and weep until the collection agency comes to garnish their social security.

Godspeed, Jack.

Nw portlander the city of portland is legally forbidden by law from garnishing ssi,social security ,unemployment or any disability income.the city is going to have a hard time collecting from these people who have limited assets or non garnishable wages.

Collection agencies are not allowed to garnish ungarnishable wages like unemployment,ssi,social security or any disability income.collection agencies the city uses will have the same difficulty that the city will especially with people having limited to no assets.

How is that fair. . . .

It isn't.
Why would this have passed via the city attorneys? Perhaps the arrogance of Sam said to just do it anyway?

Where can we find out more particulars on this lawsuit and how to support it. Nothing has made me so mad at city government in this town in years. Years.

Paul Douglas,
I don't know if you are new to this blog, but if so, you will find out more.
Perhaps what this tax will do is make more people aware of some of the shenanigans coming out of city hall.

BTW did you know that if you don't pay by April 15th you will get $15 added to your tax? Did you know that if you don't pay by October you will pay another $35 added on top of that? Also they will be sending you to collections if you don't pay as well by October. Making people pay that are on a fixed income and don't even pay taxes to begin with is not okay. My mom has bills that take her right down to the penny and sometimes does not even have money for milk and now she is going to have to pay this tax that does nothing for her or her grandchildren. This tax only pays for the arts if you have kids in elementary school. My kids get no benefit from this tax because they are in middle school and high school. So why do I or my blind parents have to pay this tax. Not Fair

This Arts Tax has got me really hyper-angry with the city right now!!!!!!!!!!!!! First of all, I don't remember anything in the media about it coming up for a vote and I also don't remember the measure being very clear on the ballot about what it actually meant. I think that it was thought up and designed that way so that they could run it by us at top speed and we would not know what just hit us!!!!!!!!! People on fixed incomes do not have a extra $35 laying around to spend on the Arts---especially the Arts---they can't eat a picture or dance for joy because they have more pressing concerns for their own survival. Arts should only be considered after basic human needs are met!!!!!!!!!!!!


Of the supposed 62% of Portlanders who voted for this idiotic Arts Tax, how many of that 62% would like to repeal it because they feel that they were not fully informed ahead of time about the true nature of it and now that the truth has come out more fully they would like to repeal it? Anyone?

REPEAL. And that is all I have to say.

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