Notice of Measure Election - Metro

Request for Ballot Title - SEL 805 - Metro (87.97 KB)

NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Metro Council has referred a measure to voters in the Metro District (Multnomah, Washington and Clackamas County), at the May 19, 2020 Primary Election, and the Multnomah County Elections Division has received a Ballot Title and Explanatory Statement for that referral. Any registered voter dissatisfied with the Ballot Title and Explanatory Statement may file a petition for review with the Multnomah County Circuit Court on or before March 6, 2020. Any person filing a petition must also notify the Director of Elections, 1040 SE Morrison St., Portland, in writing that the petition has been filed, and the notice must be given by 5:00 p.m . on the next business day after the petition has been filed with the Circuit Court . - Tim Scott, Multnomah County Director of Elections   

Ballot Title

Caption: Provides homeless services through higher earners’ tax, business profits tax.

Question: Should Metro support homeless services, tax income over $200,000/$125,000 (joint/single), profits on businesses with income over $5 million?

Summary: Measure funds supportive housing services to prevent and reduce homelessness in Washington, Clackamas, and Multnomah counties. Prioritizes services to address unmet needs of people experiencing or at risk of experiencing long-term or frequent episodes of homelessness. Services funded by a marginal income tax of 1% on households with income over $200,000 (over $125,000 for individual filers) and a business profits tax of 1%. Income tax applies to resident income, and to non-resident income earned from sources within district. Exempts small businesses with gross receipts of $5 million per year or less.

Declares funding for homelessness services a matter of metropolitan concern, directs regional funding to local services agencies, requires community engagement to develop localized implementation plans. Allocates funds to counties by estimated revenue collected within each county.
Establishes community oversight committee to evaluate and approve local plans, monitor program outcomes and uses of funds. Requires creation of tri-county homeless services coordination plan.

Requires performance reviews and independent financial audits. Metro administrative and oversight costs limited to 5%. Requires voter approval to continue tax after 2030.

Explanatory Statement

The greater Portland region is facing a severe housing affordability and homelessness crisis. Rents and housing prices have risen faster than wages, making it especially hard for people living on fixed retirement or disability incomes to afford housing. While it is difficult to accurately estimate the number of people experiencing homelessness, or at risk of becoming homeless, according to a February 2020 report by EcoNorthwest, an estimated 38,263 people (24,260 households) experienced homelessness in 2017 in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties; thousands more were at risk.

Homelessness disproportionately impacts people with disabilities, people of color, and seniors. For people who experience homelessness, disabling conditions such as mental illness, chronic medical conditions, and addiction are made worse, and become barriers to housing placement.

Providing supportive housing services is a widely demonstrated approach to effectively end homelessness for individuals who have experienced prolonged and repeated homelessness, and protecting families from becoming homeless with prevention assistance. Supportive housing services include case management, mental healthcare, addiction and recovery treatment, employment services, rent assistance, and other care as needed. Despite state and local efforts to increase investment in supportive housing services, the need in greater Portland exceeds local capacity.

This measure will authorize Metro to establish a regional supportive housing funding program, providing the resources to address unmet needs of people experiencing or at risk of experiencing long-term or frequent episodes of homelessness in the greater Portland region. The measure will result in a substantial increase in the delivery of supportive housing services.

Supportive housing services will be funded by a marginal personal income tax of 1% on households with taxable income over $200,000 (or taxable income over $125,000 for individual tax filers) and a business profits tax of 1% with an exemption for small businesses that have gross receipts of $5 million or less per year. The personal income tax will be assessed on residents of the Metro district, and on non-residents who have income earned from sources within the district. Only income above $200,000 ($125,000 individual) is taxed.

In each county a local implementation plan will be developed to describe how supportive housing services will be prioritized and delivered to address local needs. Local plans must be developed using comprehensive community engagement that prioritizes those most directly affected by the homelessness crisis.

A regional oversight committee with broad geographic representation will review and evaluate each local plan, monitor local implementation, and review spending. The oversight committee will report every year to Metro Council on program outcomes and areas for improvement, and annual performance and financial audits of funding for supportive housing services will be conducted. Metro administrative costs are limited to 5% and must be reviewed annually. The measure requires voter approval to continue after 2030.

On Behalf of:
Metro Council President Lynn Peterson
Councilor Shirley Craddick
Councilor Christine Lewis
Councilor Craig Dirksen
Councilor Juan Carlos Gonzales
Councilor Sam Chase
Councilor Bob Stacey

Submitted by:
Carrie MacLaren, Metro Attorney