06-24-2018  11:27 pm      •     
The Skanner Report
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NEWS BRIEFS

AG Rosenblum Seeks Info from Oregonians

Oregon Attorney General seeks information on children separated from families at border ...

Community Forum: How Does Law Enforcement Interact With Vulnerable Populations?

Forum will focus on public safety and examine mental health and addiction issues ...

King County Council Recognizes Juneteenth

The Metropolitan King County Council recognizes a true 'freedom day' in the United States ...

Unite Oregon Hosts ‘Mourn Pray Love, and Take Action’ June 20

Community is invited to gather at Terry Schrunk Plaza at 6 p.m. on World Refugee Day ...

MRG Foundation Announces Spring 2018 Grantees

Recipients include Oregon DACA Coalition, Kúkátónón Children’s African Dance Troupe, Komemma Cultural Protection Association ...

Teen uses sign language to help blind and deaf man on flight

BOSTON (AP) — A teenager is being credited with coming to the aid of a blind and deaf man during a flight from Boston to Portland, Oregon.Clara Daly, of Calabasas, California, says she and her mother were traveling last week when the flight attendants asked if anyone knew American Sign...

18-year-old driver dies after colliding with log truck

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police say an 18-year-old girl has died after colliding with a log truck on Highway 101 near Beaver.Law enforcement officials say Mikayla Michelle Howard was driving a 2003 Saab when it crossed into the other lane for an unknown reason on Friday morning....

New Mexico residents to testify on atomic bomb fallout

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Residents of a New Mexico Hispanic village near the site of the world's first atomic bomb test say they were long ignored about the lingering health effects and were expected to share their stories with Congress.The Tularosa Basin Downwinders Consortium plans to...

Small plane hits car after missing runway near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH, Wash. (AP) — A small plane hit a car after overshooting the runway at an airfield near Snohomish.The Seattle Times reports that three people, including a child, were in a single-engine plane when it was approaching the Harvey Air Field on Saturday.Lt. Rick Hawkins of the Snohomish...

OPINION

How Washington’s 'School Achievement Index' Became School Spending Index

New assessment categorizes schools not by quality of education, but level of funding officials believe they should receive ...

Black Mamas Are Dying. We Can Stop It.

Congresswoman Robin Kelly plans to improve access to culturally-competent care with the MOMMA Act ...

Hey, Elected Officials: No More Chicken Dinners...We Need Policy

Jeffrey Boney says many elected officials who visit the Black community only during the election season get a pass for doing nothing ...

Juneteenth: Freedom's Promise Still Denied

Juneteenth is a celebration of the de facto end of slavery, but the proliferation of incarceration keeps liberation unfulfilled ...

AFRICAN AMERICANS IN THE NEWS

The Latest: Meek Mill debuts 'Stay Woke' song at BET Awards

LOS ANGELES (AP) — The Latest on the 2018 BET Awards, which are being presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater (all times local):7:45 p.m.Rapper Meek Mill has performed a new song, "Stay Woke," on the BET Awards with a striking performance that touched on police violence against black youth...

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent, but the show included superior performances by rising singer H.E.R, rapper Meek Mill and gospel artist Yolanda Adams, who paid tribute to Anita Baker and nearly brought her to...

Complete list of winners at Sunday night's 2018 BET Awards

The complete list of winners of the 2018 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:— Video of the year: Drake— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar—...

ENTERTAINMENT

The Latest: Prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting

The Latest on the investigation into the business interests of Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen (all times local):8:30 p.m.Stormy Daniels' lawyer says the porn actress' meeting with federal prosecutors in New York who are investigating President Donald Trump's longtime lawyer has...

Complete list of winners at Sunday night's 2018 BET Awards

The complete list of winners of the 2018 BET Awards, presented Sunday at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles:— Video of the year: Drake— Best male R&B/pop artist: Bruno Mars— Best female R&B/pop Artist: Beyonce— Best male hip hop artist: Kendrick Lamar—...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their investigation into President Donald Trump's longtime personal attorney, but the meeting was abruptly cancelled late Sunday after it was reported by news organizations, her attorney...

U.S. & WORLD NEWS

Anita Baker, H.E.R., Meek Mill shine at BET Awards

The 2018 BET Awards barely handed out any trophies with big stars like Cardi B, Drake and Kendrick Lamar absent,...

US prosecutors cancel Stormy Daniels meeting in Cohen probe

Porn actress Stormy Daniels was scheduled to meet with federal prosecutors in New York on Monday as part of their...

Thousands flee as flames race across dry rural California

CLEARLAKE OAKS, Calif. (AP) — Wind-driven wildfires destroyed buildings and threatened hundreds of others...

Nigeria: 'Deeply unfortunate killings' as 86 reported dead

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Nigeria's presidency late Sunday announced a "deeply unfortunate killings across a...

Saudi women in driver's seat as longstanding ban is lifted

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia (AP) — Saudi women steered their way through busy city streets on Sunday, driving to...

Australia and Vanuatu to negotiate security treaty

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia said on Monday it would negotiate a security treaty with Vanuatu,...

By Helen Silvis of The Skanner News



In 2012 Oregon Ballet Theater produced this
performance of The Nutracker 

 


Last November, Portland voters passed an arts tax that says every adult with a family income above poverty, must pay $35 by April 15 this year. Critics say the tax may not be constitutional and unfairly burdens lower-income households. As a result, two City Council resolutions and a legal challenge could eliminate or alter the tax.

What's the problem with the tax? 

Mayor Hales says it has consequences that voters never intended.  Everyone over 18 who lives in a household above poverty level would have to pay –even if they earned less than $35.

"As written, any Portland resident with any income -- living in a household above the poverty line -- has to pay the $35 annual arts tax," Hales' said in a statement. "So in a household that is above the poverty line, a teenager who made $10 last year dog-sitting is expected to pay $25 of that $10 to the arts tax.

"No one crafting this tax intended this to be the rule. This is just silly. And we need to move right now to address the Law of Unintended Consequences."

That's why Hales will propose an emergency ordinance, Wednesday, March 27, saying that nobody who earned less than $1,000 the previous year should pay. Anyone in this position who already has paid will get a refund.  

Hales also says he is troubled by the unfair burden placed on low-income families. For the majority of voters who favored it, the tax may have appeared so low it couldn't hurt anybody.

"Lots of people are paying," said Dana Haynes, the mayor's director of communications. "Most people are paying even if they don't like it."  

But the tax is regressive, meaning low-income people pay substantially more of their income. Most programs set up to help low-income people, recognize that the official poverty level is far too low. That's why most anti-poverty programs extend benefits to people earning twice and three times that level. This tax makes these struggling families pay as much as wealthy people.

So Hales also is proposing a resolution to send the tax to the Revenue Bureau for a review.  That too will go to the council for a vote Wednesday.

It's possible that the arts tax will be found unconstitutional. Lewis & Clark Law School professor Jack Bogdanski, who teaches tax law and also writes a blog, has filed a suit charging that the tax violates Article IX, Section 1a of the Oregon Constitution.

Why?  Each person above the poverty income threshold must pay the same flat amount of $35. In Bogdanski's view that amounts to a head or poll tax, forbidden under the constitution.

For the moment, however, the arts tax is a go. Haynes says the mayor wants to respect voters' intentions, but also wants to see if there are legitimate ways to soften the blow on families least able to pay.

"The mayor inherited this tax, and he doesn't like the idea of fixing things that were part of what voters intended," Haynes said, "So what he's doing is addressing the unintended consequences. And then we'll look at whether we can make changes that are in good faith with voters, the education community and the arts community."

A well-funded campaign in favor touted the benefits to schools and to Portland's Arts organizations. About $9 million in arts tax revenue is projected for 2013, rising to $12 million in 2014. Around 56 percent of that would pay for arts teachers in elementary schools in Portland School districts: Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland Public, Reynolds, and Riverdale.  The rest will go to the Regional Arts & Culture Council.  The council distributes funds to arts organizations, including Oregon Ballet Theater, the Metropolitan Youth Symphony and dozens of other groups that can show they work to some extent with students.

Outreach to make sure everyone who is required to pay knows about it, also has faltered. Advocates say a substantial number of people—families who don't speak English at home, for example, still have not heard about the tax and may not realize they are supposed to pay it.

Asked about rumors that the tax won't be enforced because of the problems, Haynes said he knows of no such decision.  "This won't be any different from anything else that happens in Multnomah County," he said.

Pay the tax online here.

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