Portland steps up efforts to enforce arts tax

City can refer residents to an outside collection agency

Paints and a brush. (Flickr Creative Commons)

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Portland will now be able to refer residents to an outside collection agency if they ignore the city’s controversial arts tax.

The Oregonian/Oregon Live reports that about one in three people don’t pay the annual $35 arts tax, which applies Portlanders who are 18 or older and make at least $1,000 in annual income. The revenue goes toward art and music teachers.

The Portland City Council on Thursday voted to allow the revenue office to send accounts that are at least $100 and one year overdue to a collection agency. Taxpayers would be given at least 30 days to respond to a final demand letter before the referral.

City officials say about 95,000 people owe $100 or more, and about 25,000 of them are at least $260 in debt.

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