Sunday, March 10, 2013

The Arts Head Tax Cometh

UPDATE: The City Club of Portland has removed their Arts Tax study from their site. Here's a link to find it.

This should be called the "voter education tax". It is one of the few taxes that everyone except the poorest have to pay. Rich, middle income and just making it income have to pay the exact same amount per person: $35. Which is why it's a head tax. (I covered some of the problems the tax raises in a previous post.)

It kind of gets one's attention--especially the attention of those not used to paying taxes as well as those who don't pay much attention to elections. Elections have consequences, and this consequence is one that a lot of Portland residents had no idea was coming. The Oregonian is railing against it. But, the City Club was in favor even knowing that it would impact people who make almost nothing:
" . . . even a non-working adult is likely to be an income earner, since any amount of income qualifies, thus a minimal amount from casual employment, gifts, or interest on a joint savings account, would qualify an adult resident as “income earning” for purposes of the tax."
See, it's not about how much you make, but how much your family makes. So if Johnny and Susie haven't been able to find work and are still living with mom and dad, tough luck. Kind of the reverse of allowing them to stay on their parents' medical coverage through age 26.

It will be interesting to see how tough the City will find collecting the tax and the expense incurred in doing so. Then there's the legal challenge to it as a head tax prohibited by the Oregon state constitution. (Article IX, Section 1a)

Get out the popcorn. This just might be worth the $35 ticket. And the shop, home ec, foreign language and poetry people can't be far behind. Maybe head taxes are going to be Portland's new way of financing public education. Whoop-whoop!


MAX Redline said...

Yep, it seems obvious that it's a head tax. Portlanders are, in general, inordinately stupid. This isn't the first time they've voted in an unconstitutional measure, and it won't be the last - oh, and PPS Super Carole hired the guy who shotgunned the campaign into a six-figure salaried slot as her "personal advisor". It's okay, though; It's For The Children™.

Me, I'm not going to pony up $105 for this unless the courts say I have to. And I don't see that happening.

T. D. said...

Max, wouldn't it be instructive to all voters if they got taxed like this to support public education? People might then actually pay attention to six-figure salaries, lots of managers, job benefits and what goes into making schools "attractive" and modern.

Even though I'm against this tax, I really like that every one in Portland 18 or over has to respond either with $35 or financial documentation proving they make under the federal poverty level. There's no easy way out for anyone. Undoubtedly the best voter education bill in a long time.

MAX Redline said...

Once again, the Portland hipster renters passed this pile. Unfortunately, we will ultimately be on the hook unless it goes to court.

No easy way out for anyone, indeed.

T. D. said...

What do you think about the Oregonian going after TriMet management salaries? Publishing names of recipients was kind of a low blow. They should have published the names of those who approved the raises.

Though the editors are against the Arts Tax because it's regressive, they have not shown themselves to be against public school overspending on salaries--or anything else.

The editors have so many contradictory positions that like Lewis Carroll's White Queen they must practice every day in order to keep believing all of them.