Oregonian delivers truth blow to Kotek, Wheeler

By Taxpayers Association of Oregon


The Sunday Oregonian Editorial Board had harsh words for both Oregon Governor Tina Kotek and Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler.

The Editorial headline was beautiful, “Awash in cash, city and county still scrambling to cover basic needs”.

The City and County’s sky-high taxes are pulling in huge sums of tax dollars at the same time politicians are saying they are broke and slashing services.   The Oregonian called their bluff and exposed the problem.

You see, both Tina Kotek and Ted Wheeler just announced their joint Task Force agenda to save Portland.  It included a call for a moratorium against any new taxes for three years.  The Oregonian said — not enough!

The Editorial Board said; “We don’t need just a moratorium. We need a financial reckoning. We need our local jurisdictions as well as the public to examine how we pay for public services, decide on priorities and strategize how to better meet obligations.” 

Well said.

The Oregonian defined the problem saying, “Consider that the Portland Clean Energy Fund expects to receive $1.3 billion in tax revenue over the next five years ­– $540 million more than it projected just a few months ago. The Portland Parks and Recreation Bureau has spent less than half the $93 million it has received from a levy. Yet, the city’s cash-strapped Bureau of Development Services is already laying off 15% of its staff due to construction slowdowns and the Bureau of Transportation is similarly expecting cuts. At the county level, Multnomah County has received tens of millions of dollars in unanticipated revenue from a regional tax for homeless services and the county’s Preschool for All program in their first year… Yet, county officials warned last month that rising personnel costs and other expenses will lead to a budget shortfall in the next fiscal year …”

The Oregonian called on all the taxing projects to rethink their taxes and even considering cutting them by saying, “Multnomah county leaders, too, should step up and take a hard look at shelving a plan to increase the Preschool for All tax rate by 0.8% in 2026. The county is delivering far less than it promised when the measure went to voters, yet is bringing in far more money than it anticipated. As Willamette Week’s Sophie Peel reported, however, Chair Jessica Vega Pederson, who spearheaded the Preschool for All campaign, has not responded to requests to hold off an increase.Other organizations, from the Oregon Historical Society to Metro should also be scrutinizing their habitual asks of voters. There’s no law against decreasing a levy or bond rate when seeking a renewal from voters, although agencies seem utterly perplexed by the possibility. A lower rate could make their next ask of voters more palatable to an increasingly fed-up public that might otherwise reject it outright.”

The Editorial ends with this plea, “… the public has to recognize that our community cannot afford to pay for every good cause that comes to the ballot. “

The Oregonian is highlighting the severe and serious problem of when over-taxation meets the bureaucratic blob and citizens get stuck with paying more for less service.   That is where we are.

There is more spot-on advice in the Editorial, read here.

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