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Mayoral Candidate: Tax Millionaires to Pay for Housing

Phil Hall
Dec 18, 2015
A candidate for mayor of Portland, Ore., has a unique way to address his city’s lack of affordable housing: Levy a new tax on local millionaires and use those funds to pay for housing

A candidate for mayor of Portland, Ore., has a unique way to address his city’s lack of affordable housing: Levy a new tax on local millionaires and use those funds to pay for housing.

According to a KGW.com report, David Schor, the assistant attorney general for the Oregon Department of Justice and a self-described Bernie Sanders-style democratic socialist, is advocating an eight percent tax on Portland millionaires, which he claimed would create $200 million per year that could be funneled into affordable housing development. Schor forecasted that this solution could result in 10,000 new housing units by 2022.

However, the creation of this new tax would require voter approval via a referendum, which Schor proposed on the November 2016 ballot.

“If we look at where new income has gone, more than half of the increase has gone to the top one percent of earners,” he said. “That’s an opportunity for Portland. Right now, the city is adding a small number of affordable units each year. It’s probably going to max out at around 600 units a year, and that’s not enough to keep up with demand.”

The inspiration for this idea originated in Schor’s home—he lives in a Portland apartment and has experienced a 50 percent increase in rent over the past eight years.

Published
Dec 18, 2015
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