In November, 2012, 62% of Portland voters approved a groundbreaking new “Arts Education and Access Fund,” commonly known as the arts tax, to restore arts and music education in every public school, and to make arts and culture programs more accessible to every Portland resident.
The arts tax is an income tax of $35 paid by every Portland resident age 18 and older who earns more than $1,000 in a year from sources other than Social Security and state and federal retirement benefits. Persons who live in households that are at or below the federal poverty line are exempt from paying the tax.
Today, thanks to the arts tax, every school in Centennial, David Douglas, Parkrose, Portland, Reynolds and Riverdale School Districts has at least one art, music or dance teacher. In addition, RACC receives approximately $2 million/year to invest in nonprofit arts organizations that are making the arts more accessible to every Portland resident. Here are some examples of how arts organizations are expanding access with funding from the arts tax.
For the 2017 tax year, arts tax payments are due April 17, 2018. For more information, visit www.portlandoregon.gov/revenue/60076.
- Pay the arts tax online (City of Portland revenue division)
- Frequently Asked Questions about the arts tax
- Portland’s arts tax is a good deal (Op-Ed by Jeff Hawthorne, October, 2017)
- Oregon Supreme Court upholds Portland’s Arts Tax (Willamette Week, September, 2017)
- Every Portland elementary school now has an arts teacher, thanks to the arts tax (April, 2016)