Portland resident and retired lawyer George Witteymer argues the tax violates the Oregon Constitution’s prohibition against “head taxes.” A Multnomah County Circuit Court judge rejected that argument, ruling the exemptions mean that it does not unconstitutionally apply to everyone. The Oregon Court of Appeals affirmed the ruling without additional comment.
Witteymer calls the ruling “political,” arguing that all previous head taxes that the constitutional amendment sought to outlaw had exemptions.
“This is a wrong statement, a false statement, and an incorrect statement both factually and legally. It makes no sense. It is not legal analysis. It is poiitical obfuscation of the worst kind,” Witteymer writes in his appeal.
The tax was approved by a majority of city voters returning ballots in the November 2012 election. It is intended to provide Portland schools with funding for art teachers that have been lost because of state education funding shortfalls. Nonprofit arts organizations in Portland receive some of the money, too.