Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Why ask when you can force it?

The Oregon Legislature, as part of the ongoing debates for funding the state school system, has tried on a couple of occasions to give Portland schools a sweetheart of a deal: the ability to continue levying a tax beyond the date the tax expires.

Portland voters approved local option property and income tax levies to temporarily provide additional funds for school and other local services, but they are both set to expire in the next year. Today's Oregonian details the efforts to allow Portland to levy an extra $15 million in property taxes. The proposal has been made in the hopes of attracting Democrat support for various school funding schemes, though it hasn't worked out that way.

Portland school officials say "taxpayers would barely notice the $15 million because it would only slightly reduce what will be a big drop in Portland school property taxes levied this fall," the Oregonian story said. "Homeowners will see their taxes for the school district drop by about a third."

In other words: your taxes are going to drop this year anyway, so you'll never notice that the drop is (these are made-up numbers) 30 percent intead of 35 percent. It's still a reduction! What's the big deal?

Once again, I'm thanking God that I don't live in either Portland or Multnomah County, but I'm sick about this nonetheless, for this reason: the voters approved these taxes not once, but twice (there was an effort last year to repeal the income tax, but it failed). Opponents of the taxes warned voters that the county and school district might be calling them "temporary" taxes, but they'd find a way to make them permanent. Now that the expiration date of those taxes is on the horizon, those tax opponents are being proved right.

And the legislature, thanks to Portland-area Democrats, are leading the way. Why ask the voters for permission to continue a tax when you can call up the tax-happy Democratic Party and shove it down the voters' throats?

UPDATE: I neglected to note that one of the proposals was floated by House Majority Leader Karen Minnis, so it's not just the Dems. Ugh.


Post a Comment

<< Home