Portland, OR passes Tax Increase
Voting closed for Oregon residents on Tuesday night. One of two measures on the ballot was Measure 26-210, which passed by 63% of the vote. This tax increase is projected to collect $250 million a year to help combat the homeless crisis in Portland. The money collected will be used to fund programs and services that have been shown to directly impact homelessness such as addiction and mental health services, employment support, and rent services in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties. Although the tax revenue will be allocated proportionally to each county (Multnomah 45.3%, Washington 33.3%, Clackamas 21.3%), how the money is allocated between these services will be decided in the future by each county based on what is needed in the respective counties.
Just how will Measure 26-210 raise the funds to support the increase of services being offered here in Portland? Now, there will be an additional 1% tax on those individuals who file single making more than $125,000, or couples filing jointly making more than $200,000 in a calendar year. Additionally, businesses will be taxed 1% on their revenue over $5 million. Unless renewed this tax is set to expire in year 2030. It is important to note that this is a marginal tax, so if a person is single and makes $130,000 a year, the entire amount is not taxed the additional 1%, only the amount greater than the threshold of $125,000 would be taxed, in this example $5,000 ($130,000-$125,000).
The tax increase does not begin until January 1st 2021, but between now and then the counties will be hard at work setting up systems to make the most out of the additional funds as administration and oversight costs are limited to a maximum of 5%. Also, the Measure requires setting up a 20-member Oversight Committee to make sure the funds are used in the best possible way and conduct and publish the annual financial audits of the program.