They Always Want More: Voters Face at Least a Half Dozen New Taxes in 2020

By Eric Fruits, Ph.D.

With this year’s “short” session of the legislature, the $700 million a year cap-and-trade bill is on everyone’s mind.

As they say on the infomercials: “Wait, there’s more.” Way more. Way more taxes. This year, Portland area voters are facing at least six new tax measures.

First, we have Metro’s transportation package that will amount to more than $400 million a year in new taxes.

This week, Metro is also looking to move forward with another set of taxes for homeless services. That’s expected to cost about $300 million a year.

Then, we’ve got Portland Public Schools’ billion dollar plus school construction bond, where $200 million will be used to pay for cost overruns from the last bond measure.

Wait, there’s more.

In November, Portland voters will be asked to renew the city’s 10-cents per gallon gas tax.

In the Portland area alone, voters will see at least six new taxes totaling more than a billion dollars a year.

They Always Want More: Voters Face at Least a Half Dozen New Taxes in 2020

Also in November, ballots will go out for a $2 per pack increase in Oregon’s cigarette tax plus a massive new tax on vaping products.

Wait, there’s one more.

In response to House Speaker Tina Kotek’s call for a housing emergency in Oregon, Governor Kate Brown is pressing for a new tax on home sales. That’s right, the state with a housing affordability crisis is looking at a tax to make homes more expensive.

No matter how much they spend, they always want more. It’s time for Oregon voters to pick up their ballot and tell their politicians, “Enough is enough.”

Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.

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  1. Avatar for Bob "Elvis" Clark

    Bob "Elvis" Clark

    7:31 pm - February 7, 2020

    It’s horrible. For those wanting some time to digest new taxes and fees passed the last couple of years, you can work really hard to defeat one new tax…but there are a whole posse of them….you only can plug maybe one hole when a number of leaks in the dike are springing simultaneous.

  2. Avatar for Elice


    9:16 pm - February 7, 2020

    At this point I just think the government leaders in Oregon are obscene. Their entire agenda is to grow government even more massive than it is now.
    Metro just handed us $653 million in new property taxes in 2018 for “affordable housing.” Affordable for whom? Certainly not the people forced to pay for it. In 2019 they shoved $475 million MORE new property taxes down our throats for more land grabs. Now Metro wants $400 million MORE for another transportation “package” and that’s after the state of Oregon just just smashed us with a multi-billion dollar statewide transportation tax package. And now Metro wants ANOTHER $300 million for them to, again, help with the homeless problem. And of course, we have PPS demanding brand new luxury real estate for all the schools, and want us to fund their complete dereliction of anything that resembles sticking to a budget. These numbers are beyond comprehension.

    Then we have Kate Brown shoving a multi-billion dollar GROSS sales tax down our throats and signed HB 2164 so the people didn’t get a vote and making Oregon officially the least democratic of all 50 states. This maneuver because we already voted down a GROSS sales tax by 59% NO and she knows we would vote it down again. Because it’s wrong. Then add in the new “green” tax in Portland only, estimated to cost us $60 million, all those millions to go to “people of color.” What does “green” this or that have to do with “people of color?” Nothing. It’s just another massive money grab. Taking money from one group and shoveling it to people they deem more worthy.

    All the new taxes just since 2018 add up to more than $3 BILLION! And that’s before all these new taxes planned for 2020! It is insane and I despise these people in office. In a state where they spew their mantra “sustainable” this and that, but none of these mega billions in new taxes is affordable to the people trying to make a living here. They are targeting the private sector, they spit on business and then turn around and expect business to cough up billions for their lousy management of of everything government. Because these government lifers do not manage anything. They just demand billions, blow it and demand more. Their agenda is to grow government, increase and grow welfare roles grow government into the stratosphere.

    This is a massive big government agenda that is socialist and extreme and at these levels is obscene in it’s magnitude. It is not possible for me to have less respect for these idiots spending the billions.

  3. Avatar for Lee S Hill

    Lee S Hill

    11:06 am - February 28, 2020

    Last fall, I initiated an internal investigation of a Parks Bureau manager, by the city’s Auditor’s Office. Just last week (Feb 2020), the report was released, and several newspapers and other media responded. The results were painfully clear. John Zoller, former longtime Golf Director, had engaged in an insidious pattern of outright financial fraud, netting him a pile of undeserved income. There was absolutely NO statement by the new Parks Director, Adena Long, but her media flack, Mark Ross, issued a tedious statement which simply said that the bureau was a wonderful government agency which always tried its very best to be wonderful. The Auditor’s report make it clear that Park’s management was lax at best, enabling this crook to line his pockets with tax payer funds. Also, the report clearly listed several distinct recommendations that Parks should agree to immediately put into place. True to stubborn bureaucratic form, Parks REFUSED to effect several recommendations, though it recently and openly whined about its inability to live within the bounds of its $294 million annual budget. Parks refused to install internal overview on their practice of hiring former employees as “consultants”, and that they would not openly list these people by name on reports available to the public. Parks also refused to release any internal information pertinent to the Zoller corruption case, and declined to pursue payback of the purloined funds. It is now well known that Portland Parks is positioning itself to create its own specific “parks tax”, much like the hated arts tax. There is also maneuvering to make the Parks Bureau another “special tax district”, like TriMet, which would free it to force payroll taxes directly on citizens, bypassing any incumbrance of being only a city bureau . Just imagine an organization that refuses to hold responsible a blatant crook , having the exalted status of an independent taxing authority. It really is time to exert pressure, and expect integrity, from local government.

  4. Avatar for m.pelar


    1:11 pm - April 10, 2020

    gov. brown is incapable of running this state she must be impeached she was not born in the states she is a horrible gov.

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