Supreme Court Upholds Portland’s Arts Tax

The Oregon Supreme Court has affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in Wittemyer v. City of Portland and held that the Arts Education and Access Fund, commonly known as the Arts Tax, is not a prohibited “poll or head tax” under the Oregon constitution. 

“We are gratified that the Supreme Court has affirmed the judgments of the Court of Appeals and the trial court,” said City Attorney Tracy Reeve, “and held that the Arts Income Tax is fully constitutional.”

 The court’s decision concludes more than four years of litigation over this issue, during which the legality of the tax has been upheld at every level.

“Today’s decision is a big win for Portland’s kids,” said Commissioner Nick Fish. “Thanks to the ruling of the Oregon Supreme Court, over 30,000 Portland children will continue to have arts education in school.”

“Voters overwhelmingly approved the Arts Tax in 2012, recognizing art as fundamental to a child’s education,” Fish noted. “As of today, the legal question about this tax is settled.”

 

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