Our own Coos County commissioners are always mulling over new taxes. The museum tax, the transient tax, the road tax, the marijuana tax and of course the urban renewal tax they are insatiable in their appetite for the people’s money.
In late March of this year, the commissioners bypassed the people and voted unanimously to renew the county’s North Bay Urban Renewal plan, which has the potential of going into thirty-two million dollars of debt.
The commissioners give the same cheesy excuse that only the people living in the UR area are paying the UR tax, but that is a half-truth.
It is true that only the property owners in a UR area pay their property taxes directly to that area’s UR agency over the frozen tax base. Anything over the frozen base is the increment of taxes that goes to finance the UR agency, hence the term tax-increment financing.
However, those tax dollars were supposed to go to several other overlapping taxing districts to cover the cost of the services provided by those districts.
Everyone in the county uses the services provided by those districts, including the owners of the properties inside the UR area. When taxpayers of the property inside the UR taxing area do not pay for the services they are using because the system has redirected the money to the UR agency, other taxpayers in the other overlapping countywide districts have to cover the cost of those expenses. Therefore, everyone who pays property taxes in Coos County pays taxes directly or indirectly for the debt accrued by all seven urban renewal areas that exist in the county through this process of tax increment financing.
Otherwise, property owners would not see UR taxes listed on their tax bill.
The county loses $3 million annually in tax revenue to urban renewal, which represents 5% of the total amount of property taxes collected in the county. Multnomah County, which is essentially Portland, dedicates about 25% of their total annual property taxes to urban renewal, and their number one complaint is affordable housing, which is partially due to TIF.
There is no such thing as free money.
Since the politicians are going to use most of this money to facilitate the development of private corporations, it then comes down to a simple question.
Should the government use public tax dollars to gamble on private development or should corporations gamble with their own money?
Politicians are neither lucky nor skillful enough to be rolling the dice with the people’s money, and that includes the three political hacks currently serving on this county’s Board of Commissioners.
People rarely get a chance to rescind an ordinance that continues a tax, and once the government enacts a tax, it is impossible to stop. In the November election, the people will have a chance to repeal the county’s urban renewal plan and the tax debt that goes along with it.
The voters of Coos County should take advantage of this possibly once in a lifetime experience and vote yes to repeal. VOTE YES for Measure 6-168 and feel-good about repealing a tax because it is the right thing to do.
Anyone interested in finding out more information on urban renewal and tax-increment financing can go to www.CoosCountyWatchdog.com.
Coos County Commissioners Approve Tax Free Living in Bay Area Enterprise Zone
Coos County Clerk Certifies Petition to Repeal the North Bay Urban Renewal Plan
Commissioners Cribbins & Sweet Deserve Public Reprimand for Deception
Commissioner's URA Vote Triggers Tax Referendum ~ Meeting on Friday the 13th
Coos County Considering Ordinance to Extend UR Tax Debt March 27, 2018
Board of Commissioners Postpones Vote on Coos County Urban Renewal Agency
Update on The Campaign to Shut Down the Coos County Urban Renewal Agency
Coos County Public Hearing on Extending the Urban Renewal Tax Debt Dec. 13, 2017
The Continuing Saga of the Coos County Urban Renewal Agency
Coos County Board of Commissioners FINAL VOTE on Extending the URA Debt
Information on the Campaign to Shut Down the Coos County Urban Renewal Agency
Coos County Proposed Ordinance Adopting North Bay UR Plan ~ FOREVER
Coos County Commissioners Hearing on Extending the Debt of the North Bay URA
Cribbins & Sweet Utilize Voter Suppression on Urban Renewal Extension