City council to consider changing Portland arts tax

City council to consider changing Portland arts tax »Play Video
The City of Portland wants to collect the $35 arts tax through online payments before April 15, but Mayor Hales says the tax is flawed.

PORTLAND, Ore. — The Portland City Council will discuss an emergency ordinance next week to correct what Mayor Charlie Hales says is a flaw in the new, voter-approved arts tax.

As written, every Portland adult must pay the $35 annual arts tax if they have an income and live in a household above the poverty line.

According to Hales' office, that means an 18-year-old who made $10 dog-sitting last year would have to come up with another $25 to pay the tax.

"No one crafting this tax intended this to be the rule," Hales said in a news release Monday. "This is just silly. And we need to move right now to address the law of unintended consequences."

The council will consider changing the rule to create an income threshold of $1,000. Those who have already paid and make less than $1,000 will get a refund. The city is still working out how to pay it, the news release said.

Money generated by the tax will be used to keep art teachers in elementary schools and provide grants for local art institutions.

Payment forms will be mailed April 1, but if you pay online before then, the city won't have to send one.

The council will address an emergency ordinance at its March 27 meeting.

Meanwhile, Jack Bogdanski, the man behind Jack Bog's Blog, has filed a lawsuit challenging whether the tax is even constitutional. He is asking the Oregon Tax Court to declare the arts tax an unconstitutional head tax.

Bogdanski declined to speak to KATU News on Monday, saying he doesn’t want to argue his constitutionality case in the media.