Multnomah County voters say ‘no’ to proposed capital gains tax

File: Portland downtown
File: Portland downtown(Pixabay)
Published: May. 16, 2023 at 8:43 PM PDT
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - With more than 123,000 ballots counted, nearly 82% of Multnomah County voters said “no” to a proposed capital gains tax that would have funded legal assistance for renters facing eviction.

Measure 26-238 proposed an adjustable capital gains tax on all Multnomah County residents.

“Voters tonight have protected local families, seniors, and small business owners by rejecting this tax measure, which had no limits and no safeguards,” says Lance Randall, executive director of the Black Business Association of Oregon. “This tax would have been an unfair burden on small business owners, particularly Black, Asian and other BIPOC business owners, in an already-challenging economic environment. Let’s continue to work together to build a stronger, more equitable economy for all members of our community.”

More than 75 endorsers — including organizations like APANO, the Black Business Association of Oregon, Hacienda CDC, Tax Fairness Oregon, and elected and community leaders — joined a coalition opposing Measure 26-238.

Measure 26-238 had no income thresholds or exemptions for residents, meaning even people with very low or fixed incomes would have been subject to the tax on every dollar earned.

“Measure 26-238 was not written with everyone in mind. Older populations, or limited-English members of our communities may misunderstand the requirements of this tax, and incur late fees and penalties,” said Metro Councilor Duncan Hwang in a written statement. “Eviction representation is vitally important, but the broad taxing mechanism in Measure 26-238 posed an unfair burden on our under-represented and resourced populations.”

A countywide capital gains tax with an adjustable rate that was initially set at 0.75% was proposed by Measure 26-238. After administrative costs, money from that tax would benefit Multnomah County residents who were being threatened with eviction with free legal counsel.

The profit made by selling specific items, such as real estate, a home, stocks, mutual funds, or even digital money, is referred to as capital gains.

The proposal’s backers welcomed it as a means to retain people in their homes and combat homelessness at its source.

Americans are subject to a capital gains tax as well, although it has restrictions. For instance, when a married couple sells their property, the first $500,000 in profit is not subject to federal tax. There are restrictions based on income as well.

There are no such stated exemptions in Measure 26-238. In its current form, it would tax everyone, regardless of income level, on all capital gains.

On Tuesday, Oregon held a special election where counties will vote on local ballot measures, school board posts and/or levies, water and fire districts, among other races. Stay with FOX 12 for the latest results and analysis on air and online.