Voters have shown their willingness to support higher property taxes for books and an income tax for arts.
A ballot measure to create a Multnomah County Library taxing district leads 61 percent to 39 percent, according to early returns.
The creation of a permanent revenue stream for the Multnomah County Library will raise many property tax bills. It also means Portland city budget wonks will be nervously watching another, less public outcome: Negotiations between Mayor Sam Adams and County Chair Jeff Cogen have been held behind closed doors over whether the county will ease the squeeze the new tax district creates on city revenues. (That crunch is a result of tax compression, which WW explored in a cover story this summer.)
Meanwhile, a new tax painted as a way to fund arts teachers in local public schools is passing, 58 percent to 42 percent.
The tax would charge every adult Portland resident above federal poverty levels $35. Along with paying for an arts teacher for every 500 students in Portland city limits, the tax would fund a swath of arts nonprofits, including the Oregon Symphony and Portland Art Museum.