New Taxes Hit Poor Hardest

City arts tax, non-food and cooked-food supermarket tax, now 5 cents for a paper bag. The arts tax is egregiously regressive; the newer levies also weigh heavier on low-income people.

Do Mayor Wheeler and the City Council have no shame about taking money from we who have little of it?  Stop Global Warming, certainly.

How about a luxury tax on home sales of $500,000 and up? And why not a surcharge on cars sold at or above $60,000?

The city's absolutist do-gooders need an equity reality audit.

—Matthew Sproul, Southeast Portland

Editor's note: The statewide ban on plastic grocery bags and 5-cent paper bag fee took effect Jan. 1 by order of the Oregon Legislature's House Bill 2509.

Last week, WW wrote about Portland's groundbreaking new tax on large companies ("A Big Green Deal,"  Jan. 8, 2019). In a few months, the city will begin investing proceeds from the climate justice tax on large companies. It's a local version of the Green New Deal proposed by U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), and no other U.S. city has such a tax. Here's what readers had to say about it.

Celia Barlow, via Twitter: "Every single program this city undertakes needs to be independently audited. I sense more money will not be allocated as originally promised."

Bryant, via Twitter: "I'm excited to track the outcomes. I think 12 years will be the first benchmark that will be meaningful. Shorter time frames will give indicators of possible achievements."

Dkgiovenco, via "Hello, this is Portland. How may I tax you today?"

Travtothefuture, via Twitter: "No one else has it because it is a bad idea. It will only hurt consumers and people living in Oregon. No thank you."

Colorado Chad Schmid, via Facebook: "Portland is focusing on climate change that other cities don't. With my time traveling, I have seen it. Portland is growing like crazy, and if you don't hop on board, you will miss opportunities."

Azadabba, via Instagram: "If these large companies can't find a way to dodge this tax, they'll just go elsewhere, sadly."

Mrperez92, in response: "You think Target is going to move all three of its stores outside of Portland?"

Jennifer Wakayama, via Facebook: "Keep voting this stuff in and then complaining about how expensive Portland has become…smh."

My Two Cents, via "No one should be allowed to live off of any type of government assistance their entire lives, unless they're disabled. The mayor and council are not doing people of color any favors with more handouts. The best helping hands are the ones at the end of our own arms."


Due to an editor's error, a story on city planning commissioners talking to the press ("Gag Order," WW, Jan. 8, 2020) misstated Andrea Durbin's title. She is director of the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, not the Bureau of Development Services. WW regrets the error.