If you were waiting to see how Jack Bogdanski's lawsuit against the Portland Arts Tax turned out before paying it, you might want to pull out your checkbook.
Oregon Tax Court has dismissed a suit filed by Bogdanski, a Lewis & Clark Law School professor and retired blogger, alleging that the city's $35-a-person tax violates the state constitution.
But the court hasn't upheld the tax's constitutionality. Instead, it ruled on Tuesday, June 4 that it doesn't have jurisdiction over city taxes.
"The court concludes that it does not have the statutory authority to hear Plaintiff’s challenge to the City of Portland’s tax," the ruling says. "That is so because jurisdiction must start with a challenge to a tax law administered by the state and the Portland Arts Tax is not a tax law of the state, but rather a municipal tax law."
The current deadline to pay the Arts Tax is June 10.
UPDATE, 6:29 pm: Put a hold on your debit card! Bogdanski says he will appeal all the way to the Oregon Supreme Court.
This afternoon he issued a statement to WW, dated June 4:
Today a magistrate of the Oregon Tax Court ruled that the Tax Court doesn’t have jurisdiction to hear my constitutional challenge to the Portland arts tax. The Tax Court’s jurisdiction is an unclear area of law, but I believe today’s ruling is incorrect. I plan to appeal it to the regular judge of the Tax Court, and if necessary, to the Oregon Supreme Court.
If it turns out that the Tax Court is not the proper forum for this case, I intend to bring it before the circuit court, or wherever else I am directed by the reviewing courts. Ultimately, the Oregon Supreme Court will likely be called upon to decide the only substantive legal issue I raise in my case, which is whether the arts tax is a “head tax,” forbidden by Article IX, section 1a of the state constitution. I continue to believe strongly that the arts tax is a “head tax,” and that it will be struck down for that reason.
UPDATE, 7:05 pm: Mayor Charlie Hales' spokesman Dana Haynes first heard about the ruling from WW. He says he expects Bogdanski to appeal, and notes that a second lawsuit remains in Multnomah County Circuit Court.
"While it is a relief to hear this news," Haynes says, "it is not the end of the road for our besieged Arts Tax."