The Creative Advocacy Network is asking Portlanders to pass a ballot measure that would result in a flat $35 income tax to fund arts programs in schools and nonprofit arts organizations. A little over half of the money would go to Portland area elementary schools to fund arts and music programs. The remainder would go the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) which would distribute the money among local arts organizations and education programs*.
Back in June when the city council voted to refer the measure to voters, Mayor Sam Adams came on our show to advocate for the tax. He said,
When we look at the dearth of arts and music offerings in elementary schools, it’s an affordable thing that we can do.
There is no organized opposition to the Portland arts tax, but there are plenty of skeptics. Opponents take issue with the fact that the tax is regressive. Economist Eric Fruits is also quick to point out that it’s unclear how the funds would be distributed to arts organizations and how those funds that don’t go directly to schools would benefit education.
Are you a Portland voter? What questions do you have about the arts tax measure?
- Jessica Jarrett Miller: Executive director of the Creative Advocacy Network
- Eric Fruits: President of economics consulting firm Economics International and adjunct professor of urban economics at Portland State University
Editor’s Note: OPB is a member of the Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) and could potentially benefit from this tax.
*This post was edited to more accurately reflect how the money will be distributed.