Results for Think Out Loud (Other Results)

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.

Segmentarticle - May 7, 2013

Negotiating Tax Changes

Democrats in the Oregon Legislature had a plan to raise $275 million in taxes from businesses and high-income earners. But last week, it was clear that the measure didn't have enough support to pass the House. So, Democratic lawmakers scaled back their plans and passed a bill that was almost unrecognizable compared to what they started with. Now the legislation goes to the Senate, where Democrats could strike a deal to add back some of the original features of the plan. They will still have to win over House Republicans, who will get a chance to vote on the bill again if the Senate makes those changes.

Segmentarticle - April 30, 2013

County Cigarette Taxes

A bill that would allow counties to levy their own cigarette taxes passed the Oregon House by a slim margin last week. HB 2870 would require counties to spend at least 40% of the money from cigarette taxes on public health, including smoking cessation programs.  Proponents say this would give local governments more autonomy to create a much-needed revenue source, particularly for counties that are facing severe financial problems. Opponents argue that cigarette taxes disproportionately affect the poor and could hurt small businesses. The 31-29 House vote broke down along party lines, with only three Democrats voting against it and no Republicans voting for it. It now moves on to the Senate.

Segmentarticle - April 10, 2013

Researchers Detail A Possible Oregon Carbon Tax

Economists with Portland State University's Northwest Economic Research Center have just released a report on how an Oregon tax on carbon (pdf) might work. The researchers based their scenarios on the carbon tax in British Columbia, which they implemented in 2008. The BC tax was designed to be "tax neutral," meaning other taxes were reduced as the carbon tax was implemented.  There are currently four bills that deal with a carbon tax in the Oregon legislature. A spokesman for Associated Oregon Industries says it's too early to tell whether the business group would support or oppose those proposals. But John Charles with the Cascade Policy Institute says Oregon already taxes carbon and that further taxes would be unnecessary and harmful. Report co-author Jenny Liu says that their analysis shows an Oregon carbon tax could actually boost the economy.

Segmentarticle - March 12, 2013

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?

Segmentarticle - March 21, 2013

Proposals Would Regulate And Tax Credit Unions

Right now credit unions are not-for-profit institutions that don't have to pay corporate excise taxes in Oregon. But House Bill 2486 would change that by imposing an excise tax on certain credit unions. Two other bills would increase regulation on those not-for-profit institutions by mandating community lending standards and disclosure of lending practices. Banks in Oregon argue the tax breaks credit unions enjoy are undeserved when many of them now compare with small banks in membership and capital. Scott Burgess, CEO/President of Rivermark Credit Union, says credit unions still deserve tax-exempt status because as credit-unions, we're not-for-profit and member-owned. Our focus is on making sure our members have lower loan rates, and higher deposit rates. Banks' focus may also be on the customer in part, but it's really going to be in enhancing share value."

Segmentarticle - March 11, 2013

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.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 7, 2013

Boeing Gets Tax Breaks From Washington Lawmakers

Washington lawmakers adjourned their three-day special session after granting the Boeing tax breaks that Governor Inslee pushed for.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 11, 2013

Property Taxes for Seniors

Hundreds of senior citizens and people with disabilities in Oregon are getting some unpleasant surprises as property tax bills come due this month. For decades, Oregonians have been able to defer their property tax payments if they are either disabled or over the age of 62 and their income is less than $39,500. The property taxes are then paid, with interest, when the home is sold. The Property Tax Deferral Program changed in the 2011 legislative session, when lawmakers added more restrictions to the program. Now, seniors and people with disabilities facing thousands of dollars in property taxes fear they may not be able to stay in their homes.

Segmentarticle - Nov. 3, 2011

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.

Segmentarticle - March 1, 2012

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