Fewer students, more money to burn at P.C.C.

Every time you turn around, Portland Community College has its hand out for more property taxes. This fall, they'll be asking the voters for another $450 million for, among other things, the almighty "equity" and "workforce training."

They've got to be kidding.

I've written before about the staggering amounts that that organization manages to eat up. To wit:

Portland area voters and taxpayers have graced PCC with more than $700 million in funds for capital projects since 2000:

2017 bond     $185,000,000

2008 bond    $374,000,000

2000 bond    $144,000,000

Now another $450 million.

And honestly, for what? Their enrollment goes down every year. In the spring of 2017, their full-time equivalent enrollment was 7,904. Five years later, it's 5,215, a decline of 34 percent. At that rate, the November bond issue works out to roughly $87,000 per full-time equivalent student.

Then they'll tell you that the property tax needed to pay this latest bond will be only 38 cents per $1,000 of assessed value – the same, supposedly, as now. But looking at my own property tax bill for last year, I paid $2.76 per $1,000 for PCC bonds of various kinds. It's been that way or worse for years.

And it is too much. I've been voting no on these drunken borrowing parties for a while. Property values are always going up, and so we're paying more money to service fewer students all the time. My PCC bill has gone up more than 18 percent in the last five years. 

When they start showing results for the hundreds of millions they've already burned through, I might say yes to handing them more. But I won't be holding my breath waiting for that to happen. So no, no, a thousand times no on this bond issue.


  1. Might as well make it free so it serves more if that's the case.

  2. Well, they haven't blinked so far. Should we go for half a million?' 'Let's not get too crazy, make it 450.'

    1. I meant half a billion, obviously.

  3. Portland government and it’s offshoots are like that Seinfeld episode where Jerry is in first class saying “More of Everything.” And the taxpayers are like Elaine back in coach, miserable as can be.

  4. In a normal world PCC (and every other local government) would begin with a budget, then figure out the tax rate to fund that budget. But in our world, local governments begin with the tax rate (e.g., so they can call it a "renewal") and then load up the budget to spend all the money raised.

  5. Just watch. PCC will sell the bonds at above-market interest rates (known as "premiums"), and pocket an additional 10-20%. Taxpayers will pay the premium through higher annual property taxes.

  6. How about paying for results and charging for failures? Education is no longer about learning, it's all about revenue.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at jackbogsblog@comcast.net, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.