You can't make this up, folks.
Mayor Charlie Hales is proposing an "emergency ordinance" to be passed by Portland's City Council on March 27. Portland's Arts Tax, passed by voters and supported by the City Club's majority report, has "Unintended Consequences".
"As written, any Portland resident with any income -- living in a household above the poverty line -- has to pay the $35 annual arts tax," a press release from Hales' office reads. "So in a household that is above the poverty line, a teenager who made $10 last year dog-sitting is expected to pay $25 of that $10 to the arts tax."The measure was so poorly crafted that no one is saying this is the only change that needs to be made.
The release then quotes Hales: "No one crafting this tax intended this to be the rule. This is just silly. And we need to move right now to address the Law of Unintended Consequences."
Dana Haynes, Hales' spokesman, said further changes might be considered down the road, but this would be the only change made for the current billing period.Given that the tax is due in 3-1/2 weeks, it will be pretty hard to do other tweaks "for the current billing period". Even with this fix, how stupid is making someone who made only $1,000 last year (1/12th of the federal poverty level) pay $35 in taxes?
For her part, Jarratt Miller [executive director of the organization that helped pass the tax] said she is open to further tweaks. After the first collection period, she said the city will know more about who is paying and how certain aspects could be reworked.
Apparently the "we have to pass the bill to see what's in it" mode of government has trickled down to local government. In Portland this is being coupled with the "emergency ordinance" method of governing.