Oregon House Dems give tax breaks exclusively to Portland


Oregon House Republicans

Ineffective Proposal, HB 3246, Prohibits Non-Portland Residents From Applying For Energy-Related Tax Relief

Salem, OR – On a near party-line vote, the Oregon House voted in favor of House Bill 3246, Democrat-sponsored legislation that gives “energy efficient improvement” tax breaks exclusively to Oregonians living in Portland. The legislation states that property owners located in the most populous city of a county with a population of 650,000 – essentially only those located in Portland – are eligible for tax relief if they make qualifying energy efficient improvements to their property.

House Republicans expressed concerns with the bill, calling attention to both the effectiveness of the proposal and the Portland-exclusive piece of the legislation.

“Reducing greenhouse gas emissions and encouraging energy efficiency across the state requires thoughtful proposals that will yield real results in an efficient or cost-effective manner without diverting much-needed money for our schools,” said Representative Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario). “While I agree with the intent of HB 3246, this pilot program is neither efficient or cost-effective nor will it produce meaningful energy conservation.”

Chief sponsored by Representative Jessica Vega Pederson, a Portland Democrat, HB 3246 creates a program that allows property owners in Portland to apply for a 10-year property tax exemption for energy efficiency upgrades made to properties that were built prior to 2008. The bill provides no financial incentives for non-Portland residents that make similar modifications to their property in order to increase energy efficiency or reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Such modifications could include improvements to lighting systems; heating, ventilating and air conditioning systems; furnace and boiler systems; heat recovery devices; solar water heaters; and, water heating heat pumps.

“The Legislature should be crafting policies that are good for all Oregonians, not just those in the wealthiest part of the state,” said Representative Mark Johnson (R-Hood River), who serves as Vice Chair of the House Committee on Energy and Environment. “This bill proposes to give tax breaks to those who can most afford to pay their property taxes while reducing the amount of dollars going into schools and classrooms. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions should be a statewide effort in which all Oregonians can participate, not just those in wealthy Portland neighborhoods.”

HB 3246 passed the House on a 31- 26 vote with Democrats Caddy McKeown, Brad Witt and Jeff Barker voting against it.