Rolling in it

They criticize Democratic Party politicians for taxing and spending, but here in Portlandia, they seem to tax just for the fun of it. Sometimes they don't even spend.

This story by Nigel of the Weed is a good reminder. He speculates about how much dough Multnomah County will rake in as the result of that guy's recently hitting the billion-dollar lottery jackpot after buying a ticket out by the airport. If you don't live in Multnomah County, you sure don't want to be buying your lottery tickets here. In the course of ruminating on the county's windfall, Nige observes:

Because the ticket was sold in Multnomah County, the program is entitled to 3% of the winnings, or $18.6 million, a windfall for a program that is already swimming in cash.

As of June 30, the preschool program had a balance of $344 million, having raised a larger-than-expected $187 million from taxpayers in the fiscal year ending June 30, 2022, and $200 million in fiscal 2023, the latest period for which figures are available.

Then there's the City of Portland "clean energy tax," basically a 1 percent sales tax collected from mega-retailers. For a while, the money was being dished out by City Council types like Jo Ann With the Bullhorn and Chainsaw Carmen, and it went to their nonprofit pals for anything with even the slightest connection to energy use. Now they're talking about stretching that pretense even further. Dud Wheeler wants to use the obscenely large bankroll to balance the city budget. 

For the kind of money they're sitting on, in time you could probably put solar panels on half the houses in town. But they won't. New streetcars, everybody!

Wheeler said his proposed budget uses PCEF funds to pay for eligible programs in ways that shore up additional dollars to pay for general city programs.

“By matching specialized funding sources like PCEF with appropriate projects, we were able to then fund other city priorities,” he said.

That includes using $25 million in PCEF dollars to transition the city’s vehicle fleet from gas to electric, and $1 million to lease a new building for city vehicle maintenance, replacing the city’s current, structurally unsafe maintenance shop in North Portland. Wheeler’s budget also suggests spending $8 million on grants to make clean energy upgrades to rental housing, and more than $30 million in various Portland Parks & Recreation programs that care for city trees and improve energy efficiency in parks buildings. And he proposed using $42 million to replace a streetcar, maintain bike lanes, replace street lights with LED bulbs and other programs in the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

Speaking of which, the city budget director suddenly quit this week, and wow, no severance! So far nobody is saying why Tim Grewe packed it in after a little over a year back on the city pad. He got into it with the fire chief a few weeks ago; maybe that was it. Oh, to be a fly on that wall.


  1. There it is, late in the story: Bike Lanes! More Bike Lanes! The road to hell will be lined with them.

    1. Yup - Bike Portland is crowing about turning Sandy Blvd. into one big ol' bike lane, cars be damned.

  2. When I considered moving my family and my business out of the tri county area, thought I was in the minority. Looks like I’ll have a lot of company.

  3. I read the article about Budget Director and Fire Chief getting into it a few weeks ago... Thanks for posting the link.

    Portland Street Response should be eliminated. It serves no purpose and has NEVER fulfilled it's envisioned purpose. It was an attempt by Joann Hardesty (in her never-ending war on policing) to build a cadre of loyalists that looked kinda like the police but weren't really the police. PSR has no real authority except to hand out cigarettes, tarps, granola bars and tents and lead vagrants in endless choruses of "Kum Ba Ya".

    As of Jan 2024, PSR agents could not even administer narcan...

    PSR has been a waste from the beginning because it was designed to build a base of political support for Hardesty...not provide an unarmed alternative to police for certain types of calls.

  4. Maybe we should start a petition to require all spending programs to include the term "slush fund"... These folks get more and more disgusting by the second. And yet the ignoramus voters will keep voting for more and more money out of our pockets.

  5. What do all these people have in common? That’s right, all democrats.


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