May 15 Election Guide
The ever-popular Portland Children’s Levy has been around since it was introduced by Commissioner Dan Saltzman in 2002. Funds go towards preventing child abuse, feeding kids, after-school programs, early childhood education, and foster care programs. The levy is funded primarily by a remarkably meager property tax for those lucky enough to own real estate in Portland: $0.4026 on every $1,000 of assessed value. Donors match some of those funds, and in the past year, the levy brought in a whopping $17.8 million to local children’s programs.
This year, the levy is back on the ballot for renewal, and we support it! Portlanders have already been paying this tax for years, and this ballot measure keeps it running at the same level—no tax increase, just continual funding for all the kiddos. Saltzman is the program’s biggest advocate, and he points out that the levy has a history of “only investing in proven, cost-effective programs that make a difference.” He says he’s happy to have the levy be a part of his legacy as commissioner.
Administrative costs for the program are capped at five percent—and so far, they’ve never gone above that. The measure is so popular that it has exactly zero arguments against it in the voters’ pamphlet. When last brought before voters in 2013, the levy passed with a healthy margin of 74-26.
Still not convinced? That $17.8 million has gone to a lot of different great causes over the years. In 2017-2018, the levy provided $118,476 to feed hungry immigrant and refugee families in Portland. It provided lunches and a vegetable garden to kids in North Portland over the summer, and spent half a million dollars on food pantries to feed the hungry. It provides parenting classes, full-day preschool for low-income families, and support for families experiencing domestic violence. We can’t find a single reason not to vote for this levy. It’s got our vote, and it should have yours, too.