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low down on the Portland Arts Tax

What's the deal with this? Is the money actually being used wisely? Any reason NOT to pay this thing?

I'm being lazy - could do my own research but maybe one of you knows somethin?


  • I have paid it several years in a row... then I heard about someone suing the state recently?? I just got it in the mail again and threw it in the trash. I'll probably eat crow for that later, but I was feeling frustrated.
  • I feel like what I heard made it sound like you can try to not pay but you will probably pay eventually, so just pay? Seems like they could eliminate this tax now that there is a weed tax surplus.
  • for the past 2 years we have gotten our bill for the art tax even though we live in new england now. Even though they mail it TO us, AT our new england address

    i am steamed
  • Still registered to vote in Portland?
  • I was involved with about 1000 others when it was created so I follow it.

    It was a grand bargain between major arts groups and schools. The schools got an amount off the top to hire arts teachers they had cut. Different arts groups have gotten money, not just the majors. Arts groups would probably get more if more people paid up.

    RACC administers the grants to arts groups: The original vision was that the majors, symphony, museum, ballet, opera would get a million each for their operating budget in partial compensation for legions of school buses visiting them. Those amounts never happened for the majors.

    If they are billing you and you are not a legal resident of Portland you can get yourself off -

    To keep admin costs low, the City has just been keeping a list of non-filers with penalties. When that number gets big enough they will probably pursue. They won't forget.

    There is a ballot initiative 28 for Nov to raise the tax on corporations with >25M revenues. That would increase the state general fund by more than 25% year over year. That would theoretically allow school districts to hire arts teachers out of their regular budgets IMO.
  • Are they really going to pursue? I was reading somewhere that only like 50% of people have paid the tax. Maybe I am mistaken? That seems like that number is probably pretty huge already, and if they pursued it seems like a bad political move for the tax and will make a lot of people angry. Not saying that's right, just saying. The system that is setup for it seems pretty weird and ineffective. A postcard in the mail is how people are notified? Really? I just don't see how they thought that was going to be an effective way to collect.
  • I think it's weird that everyone I know hates the Arts Tax. If "we" don't support it, who does?!
  • I guess I don't understand why it's not tied to our income tax? And just take it out of there? Why do I have to go to some OTHER website to "honor system" pay this tax?
  • Yeah, I think it's less about the tax itself and more about the way it is collected.

    "Thanks to the arts tax, every elementary school in Portland now has an art, music or dance teacher. We celebrated this major accomplishment with Portland Public Schools last night. The visual arts exhibition is free to the public, and continues through April 16. ‪#‎pdxlovesart‬."
  • You can support arts and art education without supporting this especially poorly-designed funding mechanism.
  • Paid it because I can. Maybe not a good reason. I'll reevaluate next year.
  • Oh, I paid it, too. You're required to pay it. It's nice to have a thread for complaining about it, though.
  • edited April 2016
    Hey, it's not as bad as a county income tax, remember *that* shit?

    Someday we will grow up and get a real city manager instead of this fustercluck of a commission. There is a reason every other city government in America does it different than us;

    Keep Portland Weird, But Functional.
  • For all my optimism of the arts tax as the lesser of evils, I'm nonplussed the City of Portland wants my SSN and phone number on their tax form. Name and address is sufficient. Privacy please.

    And hahaha, I'm AOK with the commissioner form of government as long as the commissioners get along and bureaus rotate from time to time. Maybe it's quirky, but it requires the commissioners to have executive responsibility, be explicitly responsive to constituents, and requires them to be policy experts/arbiters for their bureau. But our form of government has not stopped running for mayor to be a strong attractor for mediocrity for this election.
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