Appeals court sides with Portland on arts tax

The Oregon Court of Appeals says tax doesn't violate state constitution

A Portland arts tax receipt. (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Portland’s annual arts tax has survived a legal challenge.

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday agreed with a lower court judge that the $35 tax is not a “head” tax and therefore doesn’t violate the state constitution.

Portland voters approved the arts tax in November 2012, and city resident George Wittemyer wasted little time challenging it. The Appeals Court agreed with a Multnomah County judge that it’s not a head tax because – due to exemptions – it isn’t assessed on each eligible person.

The tax applies to Portland residents who are at least 18 and have at least $1,000 in annual income.

The money goes toward art and music teachers, but expected revenue has fallen short because tens of thousands of Portland residents have decided not to pay.

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