PORTLAND -- People who earn less than $1,000 a year will no longer be required to pay Portland's voter-approved arts tax, if a resolution passes a vote on April 3rd.

The Portland City Council held an emergency meeting Wednesday and extended the deadline for the tax payment. A possible resolution to modify its wording will be put to a vote next Wednesday.

The law currently requires that everyone over the age of 18 with a job pay the $35 tax. City leaders recently realized the ordinance would require people who make less than $35 - for babysitting or other low-paying jobs - to pay the full fee.

Background: Portland to amend arts tax ordinance

Mayor Charlie Hales has recommended a change in the wording to say that only people who make more than $1,000 a year should be required to pay the tax. Anyone making less than that, who already paid, would be entitled to a refund.

During Wednesday's meeting, discussion quickly got heated and many people urged that instead of modifying the existing tax, the council just drop it. However, that was not actually an option. Others expressed concerns that by changing the rules of the tax, the city would lose significant revenue.

Council members decided Wednesday to change the deadline for payment to from April 15 to May 15. A vote amending the resolution with the mayor's recommendations was scheduled for April 3rd.

More: Portlanders confused by arts tax flyer

There was also confusion earlier in the month when the city sent out a flyer, telling people the payment for the arts tax was due. In many cases, such fees are added to property tax bills. City leaders pushed back the payment deadline from April 15th to May 15th.

The tax will affect about 350,000 people. It s expected to raise $12 million a year for art and music teachers, as well as art-related groups and projects.


(Editors' note: initially reported that the council had voted to amend the resolution on Wednesday. That was not correct. The council won't actually make that vote until April 3rd.)

Read or Share this story: