For the past four years there’s been legal challenge after legal challenge to the Portland arts tax, but Oregon’s Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that Mayor Sam Adams’ 2012 initiative can continue to move forward.
The art tax imposes a $35 tax on adults in Portland to help pay teachers at Portland elementary schools. It only affects people making more than $1,000 a year and who do not live below the poverty line. While, the tax hasn’t brought in as much as was projected ($12 million), it has injected $7-10 million to the city’s revenues in each of the last three years.
This quote from Jeff Hawthorne, interim director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council, says it all, “We are grateful to the Oregon Supreme Court for affirming the legality of the arts tax once and for all. As a result of this decision, every grade school in Portland will continue to have at least one art, music or dance teacher on staff, and RACC can continue investing in nonprofit organizations that are providing exceptional arts experiences for all Portland residents. Everyone deserves access to arts and culture, and 62% of Portlanders voted to help make that happen.”
With so many arts programs being shut down across the country, programs like this promise that the youth of Portland are given the opportunity to get at least a little taste of the arts. Now, just imagine if some of your favorite artists were never introduced to their first instrument?
Supporting the arts is one way we kick off the next rock/pop/electronic/whatever stars for future generations.
Well done, Portland.