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MAYOR CHARLIE HALES on Monday, May 13, announced a compromise over Portland's troubled arts education tax that (1) lets school districts budget some of the millions they've been promised for hiring new arts teachers, and (2) acknowledges the risk that legal challenges questioning the constitutionality of the $35 tax could result in widespread refunds. In the event the tax is cast down, Hales is putting $2 million in city money on the line—half from the coming fiscal year's planned $3 million contingency fund, and the other half from money the city would normally send to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, big boosters of the arts tax, the following year. School districts also are pledging money from their reserves. DENIS C. THERIAULT


A Multnomah County judge ruled on Monday, May 13, that Portland City Council was perfectly within its rights to raise taxes on landline phones in part to fund police reforms mandated by the US Department of Justice. Judge Henry Breithaupt disagreed with CenturyLink—one of two targets of the tax hike, along with Frontier—that the city had stepped over its bounds and acted unfairly by failing to also go after wireless companies. The city is now collecting five percent of total revenues from CenturyLink and Frontier. Previously, the companies paid seven percent on just their basic phone service revenue—a smaller base of income. The increase is expected to raise $3 million to $5 million. As of press time, it wasn't clear whether CenturyLink would appeal. DCT

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