Portland area property tax bills would increase over 13%

by Bob Clark for the
Taxpayer Association of Oregon


Argument Against Portland Public School Construction Bond

Portland Area Property Tax Bills Are Set to Increase over 13% if Voters Approve

Portland Public School District (PPS) residents will be asked May 17, 2011, to approve Measure 26-121, a mega sized school construction bond and property tax measure.  I urge residents to vote no on this measure.  This measure increases home owner and renter costs too much, particularly at a time when local area incomes languish and social security checks remain frozen (going on two years now).  This measure, in and of itself, would cause total property tax bills to increase over 9%.  This measure and previous measures approved would cause next November’s property tax bill to increase by over 13%, making it the highest increase in the past ten years.

Measure 26-121’s explanatory statement (http://www.co.multnomah.or.us/dbcs/elections/2011-05/26-121.pdf) is misleading.  The Measure’s cost for the average home is nearer $400 per year than $300 ($2 rate multiplied by 178.3 average taxable assessed value multiplied by three percent compound annual increase in taxable assessed value).  Moreover, this measure is only the first of several follow-on measures planned by PPS after this measure’s six year term expires.

The PPS District has for too many years used its maintenance budget for teacher compensation, rather than keeping school buildings up to date.  Nearly 19% of all District employees make over $100,000 per year in total compensation (Oregon Capitol News).

Most of Measure 26-121’s actual school construction dollars is targeted for only three high schools located east of the Willamette River.  Most west side Portland residents must wait numerous years and voter approval of follow-on measures to benefit from school remodeling.

I urge citizens to vote no, and effectively tell the District Superintendent and School Board to better manage the cost of school renovation so as to soften the obvious financial stress they aim to impose on both homeowners and renters.

The following is statistical background, weighing against the PPS Construction Bond Measure.

The above chart shows Portland area incomes have increased at between 2 to 2.5 percent per year over the past ten years with incomes more recently stalling with the 2007 to 2009 recession.  During this same ten year period, Portland area total property taxes have increased nearly 3.5% per year.  So, even up to Measure 26-121 there is a slow squeeze on local area incomes from property taxes.  But Measure 26-121 would cause a sudden acute squeeze.  It is hard to imagine senior citizens and retirees who have seen their social security and pension checks frozen for the past two years not struggling to come up with another $400 to $500 per year for PPS (PPS is now seriously looking at adding another May ballot measure which would increase property taxes another 74 cents per thousand dollars in taxable assessed value).  This chart’s data is pieced from U.S Bureau of Economic Analysis’ per capita income estimates for Multnomah County and Portland Metro Area; State of Oregon’s Office of Economic Analysis (* 2011 state wide forecast); and Portland Maps historical property tax data for average (taxable assessed) value home.

This chart shows property tax rates have been fairly well contained over the past ten years, but that Measure 26-121 would represent a rather oversized break above the historical norm for total tax rate.  The legacy of Measure 50 and related measures already lock in a 3 percent increase per year in total property tax bills, when tax rates are stable.  But Measure 26-121 would break from such stability. This chart is compiled from Portland Maps historical property tax data for average (taxable assessed) valued home (* extrapolating 2010 tax rates forward to 2011, escalating taxable assessed value by the standard three percent, and including the cost of two new Portland area measures approved in November 2010 along with the cost of Measure 26-121 if it were to pass).

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Posted by at 05:00 | Posted in Portland Schools | 33 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Britt Storkson

    How about everybody paying the same tax rate? The city of Harrisburg, PA defaulted on their bonds in large part because about half of the property there is owned by non-profits and is not taxed

  • Reper

    I can’t believe Portlanders are going to put up with this!

  • Just doing some of the math

    My comment posted under “just doing some of the math” about 5 days ago,
    pointed out that those homeowners/property owners in Southwest Portland
    will see their property taxes escalate. I calculated mine going almost 800 dollars
    in the first year of this bond. I had also mentioned that I had student that had attended Wilson High School and it was known among the students as “The
    Ghetto School of the Southwest”. I should also mention he had taken summer classes at Benson and was amazed at how nice that school was compared to Wilson.
    We pay huge taxes in this area of town, and get very little in return.
    I also agree that maintenance staff at schools has been cut. There should have been
    a maintenance program in place. (If you look at some of the pictures that were posted on the PPS website, some of what is shown could be dealt with on a maintenance level)
    I have lived in Portland for 30+ years, and seeing this over reliance on property owners as a funding source for schools, will not change the poor job the schools in the Portland area are doing to educate.

    • Tradjazzman

      BINGO.  You have hit the nail on the head.  I can’t believe the voters in Oregon were foolish enough to have voted this 3% annual increase in our propertry taxes.  This is the strangest place I have lived (and I have lived in some of the finest cities the Western U.S. has to offer).  The politics here, along with the mentality, are insane!  If we could sell our home here, we would be gone in a flash.

  • Southeast Satisfaction!

    I’m not in that district but the voters in that district overwhelmingly vote for the rip-off URD’s, elected perverts for Mayor and steal as many funds from other parts of the city for themselves. I hope this passes and all of you pay through the nose!

  • MovingtoTexas

    Does anyone in Oregon care? I think not.

  • stephan

    I appealed my property tax bill for 2011. They came back and stated that by law, prooperty tax goes up 3 percent a year. Even when property values have roled back to 2002 leavels, the property taxes go up 3 percent a year.

    • Bob Clark

      Hi, Stephan. Does this mean if the real market value of your home is less than the tax assessed value, the county assessor still won’t adjust your assessment downward to real market value particularly if appealed? There is a rather large gap between most real market values of homes and their tax assessed value – the latter being much lower in most cases than real market value. This is why taxable assessed value is likely to continue increasing indefinitely at the rate of 3 percent per year for all most all homeowners. We’d have to see another serious leg down in the housing market before the gap between real market value and tax assessed value is eliminated. Seems highly unlikely at this point what with the federal reserve buying lonterm bonds, keeping longterm rates subdued. And the federal government still seriously in deficit spending mode.

  • sayNOmoretaxes.

    So sick and tired of having to pay more and more for those with children. I don’t have kids but I keep getting asked to pay more taxes for them. Why don’t they just tax the families with children? Maybe if this country would stop giving all the tax breaks to those with children and give credit to those without, people would think twice before having multiple kids. Might help ease up on welfare and the impending population overload. I promise to VOTE NO!!

  • xtramator

    https://www.youtube.com/user/Xtramator?feature=mhum Please follow this URL to my video clip. I produced this clip to share the information in this stroy, through YouTube and social networking. By sending this out to your freinds we can put up a fight and try and stop this tax increase.

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