Give!Guide Enters the Home Stretch
WW's annual Give!Guide is in its final days of accepting donations at giveguide.org. More than 7,300 donors have donated $2.3 million already. The last day to give to 150 nonprofits is Dec. 31. Ring in the new year right.
Portland City Elections Could See Campaign Donation Cap
Advocates have filed an initiative petition to impose limits on campaign contributions to candidates in Portland city elections. The Dec. 20 petition needs 34,156 signatures by July 6 to put the initiative on the ballot in November 2018. The proposal would limit individual contributions to $500 per candidate per year, and cap a contributor's aggregate donations at $5,000 each year. Oregon has no campaign finance limits—meaning big-ticket races can turn into million-dollar propositions. The Portland City Council has already passed a public campaign finance program that will, starting in 2020, allow candidates to accept city dollars if they cap donations.
No Tax Relief for Oregon Property Owners
Many Oregonians who itemize income tax deductions are slated to get hosed by the sweeping congressional tax bill, which limits deductions for state and local taxes to $10,000 annually. Taxpayers across the country are seeking pain relief by prepaying their property taxes for next year—but a state Department of Revenue memo says Oregon law prohibits property tax prepayment in nearly all cases. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order last week overriding a similar prohibition in his state. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown, who, like Cuomo, leads a blue state with high income tax rates, hasn't decided yet what to do. "Gov. Brown has directed the Department of Revenue and Office of Economic Analysis to provide an analysis of how the Republican tax plan will impact Oregonians," says Brown's spokesman, Chris Pair.
Loretta Smith Fined $250 for Elections Violation
Oregon elections officials ruled Dec. 21 on a vexing question in local politics: They say Multnomah County Commissioner Loretta Smith is, in fact, a candidate for the Portland City Council, despite her claims otherwise. If true, Smith broke state law when she declared in September that she planned to run for City Council and then failed to change the registration of her campaign finance committee accordingly. The Oregon Secretary of State's Office will fine Smith $250. The ruling is also significant because it says Smith is indeed a candidate to succeed Commissioner Dan Saltzman—and that could mean she's violating county rules against seeking another elected position while holding county office. Jef Green, treasurer for the Committee to Elect Loretta Smith, says the violation was the committee's fault: "We take full responsibility for this error."