On November 6th, voters in Portland, Oregon approved ballot Measure 26-201, a measure that would levy a 1% tax on some retailers in the city that make more than $500,000 locally and more than $1 billion nationally. The taxes levied will pay for energy efficiency, clean energy, and job training for minority and low income Portland residents.
As of this writing, Measure 26-201 is passing with 54.52% of the vote.
Opponents of the measure expressed concern about the purported vagueness regarding how exactly the money would be spent. The measure is expected to raise between $30 million and $80 million a year.
Even though those concerns persisted throughout the 2018 election cycle, the measure seems to have easily passed. Voters were enticed by the idea of taxing big box stores like Walmart and using that money on green energy and low income jobs training programs.
The measure is geared toward reducing the city’s impact on climate change while benefitting their most at-risk citizens. Even opponents of the measure conceded the importance of battling climate change.
While we remain seriously concerned with the impact this gross receipts tax will have on Portlanders who can least afford it, we stand in agreement with proponents of this measure that much more must be done to lessen the impacts of climate change to those most affected,” said Andrew Hoan, CEO of the Portland Business alliance. “We look forward to finding ways we may all work together for our future.”
One of the measure’s endorsers, the City Club of Portland, conducted research on the potential impact of the tax on consumers and found no evidence that prices would increase.