The Metro Council took an important step on Thursday to continue the implementation of the voter-approved supportive housing services program by adopting the tax codes that will allow the agency to implement, collect and enforce the personal income tax and business income tax that will fund the program.
Metro’s supportive housing services program was approved by greater Portland in the spring of 2020, when 57% of voters said yes to a measure that will fund housing and services for people experiencing or on the brink of homelessness. These include, for example, health care, case management, job training and rent assistance.
The plan approved by voters created a tax on higher income earners as well as a business tax that exempts small enterprises. Couples with taxable income $200,000 per year and individuals with taxable income greater than $125,000 will pay a 1% tax on any income above those figures — for example, a couple with taxable income of $201,000 will pay $10 in taxes for the year. Businesses with gross receipts of $5 million or more per year will pay a 1% tax on profits.
The services will be provided by Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties with assistance from nonprofits and other groups working to support those experiencing homelessness. Metro will distribute the resources from the measure to the counties.
This is the first program at Metro that uses personal and business income taxes. Other initiatives are funded through bond measures or property tax levies. The action taken by the Metro Council on Thursday makes it possible to implement the new funding mechanism.
The new tax will go into effect in 2021. To learn more about the supportive housing services program, including accountability measures that are part of the measure, visit the program page.
To determine whether your residence, workplace and/or earned business income is within Metro's jurisdiction, enter the property address into the Find your councilor tool. If the results provide you with a Metro Councilor, then the property is within Metro's jurisdiction and may be subject to the personal or business income tax.
This article has been updated for accuracy.