A statement from RACC regarding the Oregon Supreme Court’s decision on the arts tax

PORTLAND, ORE – This morning, the Oregon Supreme Court affirmed the judgment of the Court of Appeals in Wittemyer v. City of Portland (Supreme Court Case No. S064205) and held that the Arts Income Tax is not a prohibited “poll or head tax” under the Oregon constitution.

“We are grateful to the Oregon Supreme Court for affirming the legality of the arts tax once and for all,” said Jeff Hawthorne, interim executive director of the Regional Arts & Culture Council.  “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 every Portland resident. Everyone deserves access to arts and culture, and 62% of Portlanders voted to help make that happen.”


The Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC) provides grants for artists, nonprofit organizations and schools in Clackamas, Multnomah and Washington Counties; manages an internationally acclaimed public art program; raises money and awareness for the arts through Work for Art; convenes forums, networking events and other community gatherings; provides workshops and other forms of technical assistance for artists; and oversees a program to integrate arts and culture into the standard curriculum in public schools through The Right Brain Initiative. RACC values a diversity of artistic and cultural experiences and is working to build a community in which everyone can participate in culture, creativity and the arts. For more information visit racc.org.

Media stories on 9/21-22 on this decision:

With Legal Challenge Over, What’s Next For Portland’s Arts Tax?

 Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Portland’s Arts Tax

Oregon Supreme Court Says Portland Arts Tax Is Legal   This Associated Press story appeared in newspapers around the country, including Kansas, Miami, FL.

Oregon Supreme Court Upholds Portland Arts Tax

Portland arts tax is legal, Oregon Supreme Court rules

Portland Has a $35 Tax For Arts Education—Here’s Why It’s So Controversial