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Proposed Portland Arts Tax

Pete Springer/OPB

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.

Do you live in Portland? How would you vote on a new income tax to fund arts progams?

Editor’s Note: OPB is a memeber of the Creative Advocacy Network (CAN) and could potentially benefit from this tax.


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