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!