Metro OKs $250M homeless tax measure for ballot

Civic Affairs

Homeless services measure set for May 19 vote

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Metro just passed a vote to send its homeless tax measure to the May ballot that would provide millions of dollars for homeless services.

The measure is a first of its kind for the area and looks to address the need for homeless services and to provide constant funding to try to get at the root cause of the homelessness in the Tri-County area.

The “Supportive Housing Services Ballot Measure” would raise $250 million for homeless programs. To do that, the measure would impose a 1% tax on people making $125,000 a year or couples who make $200,000 a year.

It would also place a 1% tax on the profits of businesses with gross receipts more than $5 million a year.

“This measure prioritizes deeply vulnerable people in our community and it will help them be able to move from the streets to home and be able to have them stay there successfully,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said at the Metro council meeting.

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Katrina Hollard, the executive director of JOIN, said that while they are “certainly grateful and appreciative for the effort that has come together to put this on the ballot and address it adequately, it is a systemic issue that needs to be addressed on an on-going basis.”

The Metro Council would keep 5% of the revenue for administrative purposes. The rest would be split between Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas counties for homeless services. There would also be a committee created to oversee the spending and another public vote in 10 years whether to keep the tax.

This measure is expected to be on the May 19 ballot.

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