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Think Out Loud

Oregon's Per Mile Tax To Get Test Drive

The Oregon Department of Transportation's will sign up 5,000 drivers to test how a per mile tax would work in a program it calls "OReGO"

Think Out Loud

Tax Literacy For Immigrants

Getting your taxes done right is complicated enough if you're a lifelong, English-speaking native. For immigrants who may not speak English and may be coming from countries with little to no tax enforcement, filing taxes can be even more difficult. Matthew Erdman is a lawyer who helps Latino immigrants file their taxes. He says he's had clients come to his office with boxes full of unopened letters from the IRS that they've avoided out of anxiety or general tax illiteracy. Erdman says some undocumented immigrants worry that filing their taxes may attract unwanted attention from Immigration and Customs Enforcement. There are a number of places in Oregon where immigrants can get help filing taxes, but there are also predatory tax preparers that aim to take advantage of people not familiar with the tax system. What is the best way for immigrants to navigate taxes?

Think Out Loud

Proposed Portland Arts Tax

On Wednesday, the Portland City Council will vote on whether to refer the Arts Education and Access Fund to the November ballot. The $35 citywide income tax would apply to all Portlanders over the age of 18 whose incomes are above the federal poverty level. If voters approve the tax in November, it's expected to raise about $8 million in the first year and $12 million per year after that. A little over half of the money would go towards funding arts and music programs in Portland area elementary schools. The remainder would go the the Regional Arts and Culture Council (RACC) which would choose local arts organizations to receive a portion of the funds. If it passes, the arts tax levy would likely join at least two other tax levies on the November ballot. Multnomah County is considering a library levy and Portland Public Schools may put another levy before voters as well. Oregonians have a mixed record when it comes to voting on local income taxes. Multnomah County voters approved an income tax in 2003, but Eugene residents voted down a citywide income tax for school funding this past May.

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Washington Sales Tax Exemption

Are you a resident of Oregon who shops in Washington? If so, do you make sure to tell merchants where you're from in order to avoid paying the state sales tax? Well that exemption may change as Washington lawmakers are considering repealing the long-standing sales tax exemption for out-of-state visitors. Supporters say that that the revenue is needed to help fund all-day kindergarten and that visitors with sales taxes in their home states don't mind paying Washington's sales tax. Washington business groups oppose the move, saying it would discourage tourism. Oregon, Alaska and Montana are among the small number of states that do not have a sales tax. The current exemption only applies to visitors from those states. We'll find out where HB 2791 stands and check in on a number of other issues that Washington lawmakers have been dealing with in their short 2012 session.

Think Out Loud

Taxes Tidbits

Hopefully you're done with your taxes by now (unless you got an extension). Perhaps while you were filling out all that paperwork, you came across some things that made you stop and say, "Why is this here?" or "What is this all about anyway?" There are quite a few eccentricities to the Oregon tax code. For example, Oregon is one of only four states that allows people to write off political contributions up to $50 (or $100 for married couples). Apparently, the goal is to motivate people to get involved (and invested) in the political process, even if it costs the state millions of dollars every year.

Think Out Loud

Tax Measures

By January 26th you'll be voting on two tax measures. The Oregonian has a handy calculator to see how each proposed tax could affect you. Measure 66 would raise income taxes for families that earn more than $250,000. It would raise nearly $500 million to balance the current state budget. Measure 67 would raise the minimum tax corporations pay from $10 to $150. It also changes the way some corporations are taxed. It would raise more than $250 million to balance the current state budget. The race is very close according to a poll (pdf) by OPB, Fox 12 and the Portland Tribune.

Think Out Loud

Tax and Stimulate

The proposed federal economic stimulus package passed by the US House is roughly two thirds spending and one third tax cuts. On Thursday we talked about the two billion dollars Oregon might get to repair roads, fix public housing, wisen up the electric grid and more. Monday we'll look at how the variety of tax changes might play out in the Northwest.

Think Out Loud

Does Oregon's Property Tax System Need Reform?

The City Club of Portland has released a report suggesting changes to Oregon's property tax system.

Think Out Loud

Changing And Implementing The Portland Arts Tax

Portland residents voted in an arts tax last fall that has faced some challenges in getting implemented. The City Council tweaked the ordinance to tax fewer low-income residents, and pushed back the due date from April 15 to May 15. The tax is still facing a legal challenge from Lewis and Clark Law School Professor Jack Bogdanski, and some leaders, like City Commissioner Steve Novick, still want to make significant changes. The revenue collected from the tax will go to several local school districts, with remaining funds going to the Regional Arts and Culture Council. Portland Public Schools, one of the recipients of the tax revenue, is expecting to add 46 new arts teachers if the tax is upheld.

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Results for OPB

Politics | Nation | Communities | News

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Takes Oath And Calls For Tax, Pension Reform

Oregon Gov. Kate Brown took the oath of office Monday and called on lawmakers to pursue pension reform and tax increases to close the state's budget deficit.

Politics | Election | Business | local | Economy | Nation | Family | NW Life | News | Parents

State Reminds Taxpayers To Look After Their Financial Details During The Giving Season

As people open their wallets for good causes this time of the year, the Oregon Department of Revenue is warning them to be security conscious.

Economy | Business | News | local

Oregon Says 5,000 Taxpayers Are Owed $1 Million

Thousands of Oregon taxpayers have refund checks awaiting them. If the money isn’t claimed within two years, it’s more difficult to track down.

Politics | News | local

Portland Marijuana Tax Could Mean Collecting $3 Million In Cash

The Portland City Council referred a 3 percent tax on marijuana to the November ballot on Wednesday. One wrinkle? Payments would likely be in cash.

Election | Business | News | local

Oregon Secretary Of State Certifies Corporate Tax Initiative Signatures

Initiative Petition 28 would tax companies that make more than $25 million in annual sales. 

Economy | News | local

Portland Construction Tax To Help Fund Affordable Housing Projects

The Portland City Council unanimously approved a 1 percent tax on new residential and commercial construction and stricter rules for professional lobbyists.

Business | News | local | Elections 2016

Portland Commissioners Veto Mayor's Business Tax Hike

In his budget, Mayor Charlie Hales proposed a small increase in the city business tax to raise about $9 million for programs like pay increases for police officers.

Politics | Election | News | local | Elections 2016

Why Portland's Mayor Is Talking Taxes, In Spite Of Record Revenue

Portland is bringing in record revenues, but revenue is only half of the equation.

Politics | Election | Elections 2016

OPB Politics Now: Suprising Poll Results, A Tussle Over Taxes And More

Kate Davidson hosts as we dig into the results of a new poll, the politics of the death penalty — and end with "That's So Oregon."

Politics | Election | Business | local | Economy | Family | NW Life | News | Transportation

Portland Commissioner Steve Novick Makes Gas Tax A Key Part Of His Race

The proposed Portland gas tax is the brainchild of  Commissioner Steve Novick. He's tied himself closely to the tax, which isn’t something politicians up for reelection usually do.

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