By Taxpayer Association of Oregon
Oregon Governor Tina Kotek meet behind closed doors with frustrated Portland leaders, a handful of concerned businesses and a delegation of lawmakers all coincidentally extremely liberal and from the same political party as Kotek (US Senator Ron Wyden, US Representative Earl Bluemanuer, US Representative Suzanne Bonamici, Multnomah Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, Metro President Lynn Peterson, and state lawmakers Reps. Janelle Bynum and Rep. Rob Nosse).
The goal of the meeting is to fix the “Portland” problem.
We afford them full rights and options to meet in private without the press, but what we fear is the cost. Already the subject of a $250 million in new spending has been proposed.
When politicians meet behind closed doors to fix things — fear what may emerge.
Bad idea #1: Increase corporate welfare to fix corporate flight.
Since Portland-area politicians help jacked up two massive income taxes during the pandemic (Metro homeless income tax #26-210 in 2020, County pre-school income tax #26-214) it made Portland one of the highest taxed areas in America. Nearly two billion in taxable income fled Multnomah County after these taxes passed. This has left Portland with widespread vacant office buildings. To fix this, the politicians are floating giving big tax breaks to certain select businesses in select areas. Bloomberg Businessweek explains that Portland is already famous for abusing freebie corporate tax credits from the 2017 tax reform, “More than 40 percent of commercial real estate investment there during the past three years fell within areas now zoned for the tax breaks, a far higher percentage than in any other major U.S. city, according to a recent analysis by Real Capital Analytics Inc.”
Bad Idea #2: Dumping more tax $$ for Portland feel-good TV ad campaign.
Mayor Wheeler at this secret Kotek meeting has proposed an ad campaign “to improve Portland’s reputation.” Already taxpayers pay high taxes that fund costly tourism promotions that benefit only a select few businesses. Portland even gave away free $50 gift cards (at taxpayers expense) to lure shoppers to shop downtown at favored businesses. Taxpayers should not be responsible for paying for slick TV ads in a vain attempt to make the City look good after politicians’ wreck the City with their horrible decisions.
Bad idea #3. Devoting 100 Oregon State Troopers to replace 100 City police officers cut during their de-funding.
Mayor Wheeler also proposed re-directing 100 Oregon State Troopers from official State duty to help fill the gap by the lost 100 Oregon police cut during de-funding in 2020. Also, Wheeler has a second idea and that is to hire a private-sector army of “deescalation and ambassador patrols” to replace lost police.
Bad idea #4. More tax money to build affordable houses.
The Mayor wishes to expand bonding at taxpayer expense so more affordable housing could be built. In 2019 Metro politicians pushed for a $250 million tax (26-225) to let Metro buy vacant land to TAKE OFF THE MARKET and make it un-buildable. Then Metro came back last year and pushed $80 million tax on voters (26-225) to implement taking the measure to take more land off the market. At the same time, Portland and Multnomah County have been jacking up property taxes non-stop. The 2023 Legislature voted against easing land rules (among the most restrictive in nation) to help provide more land to build affordable homes. We have this doom loop situation where politicians keep doing the wrong thing (raise taxes, take land off the market, block any flexibility on land-use) and then ask taxpayers to bail them out of the problem with more bonding.
Portland needs to do what all functioning and prosperous cities do:
• Cut taxes
• Cut red tape
• Fully fund police
• Fully enforce trespassing laws
• Outlaw public drug-use
• Enforce nuisance laws
• Turn off the harmful homeless freebie spigot (free tents, free crack pipes, free cigarettes, free cash cards)
• Help connect homeless to their families and communities from where they came from and for whom can best help these homeless rebuild their life.
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