Ballot Watch: Fire pension alone cost half as much as schools

Ballot Watch: Fire pension alone cost half as much as schools
By Richard Leonetti
Oregon Tax News,
Taxpayer Foundation of Oregon

If you own a median home with an assessed value of $230 thousand and live in the Portland School District, your tax bill was $5000. As you might expect the school portion is a large $1,086 plus $260 for bonds or a total of $1,345 for schools.

By comparison two other amounts are positively shocking for their size: $547 for the fire/police pension (this is not for salaries) and another $558 for Urban Renewal (some 11% of the total tax not the 9% that the county brochure shows). Just think of it, these two items, of what should have been small programs, now cost you $1,105 and compare to the cost of the whole school system. The police/fire pension program was supposed to have been “reformed” but the dollars have not gone down. Similarly the city has been so busy declaring everything and everywhere “blighted” to the point Urban Renewal is also 11% of your tax bill. And, this does not include the lost revenue from the renewed areas that is skimmed off the top making our total bills even larger.

Both these items total 22% of your tax bill and compare to the 22% to run the whole school system before their bonds. City hall needs to really reform the pension program, and dial back, or just plain stop, creating and extending these urban renewal districts.

One other item to not overlook is a tiny $18 for Tri-Met. Do not be mislead, Tri-Met costs you a lot more than this. If you earn $50,000 per year you are also paying another $341 in Tri-Met payroll tax. Your total personal Tri-Met subsidy is $359 a year or $30 per month even if you don’t ride the bus!

We really need to get some people who care and with some common sense in City Hall.