Thursday, May 16, 2013

Computer says no ... "Arts Tax" website crashes right when it's needed most

Folks hoping to pay their "Arts Tax" at the last minute ran into the City of Portland's dysfunctional relationship with computer software.  With the website crashing at the most critical moment, the City has decided to give Portlanders just a wee more time in hopes of finding a few more payers out there.

As of noon on May 15, the City claims that it has processed 220,000 returns and collected $6 million.

Something's screwy, though ... 220,000 x $35 = $7.7 million.  So, it seems that only 171,000 people paid the tax.  In other words, only three-quarters of the people who filed a form paid the tax.

By way of contrast, when the tax was originally pitched to voters, the City projected that 342,700 would pay the tax and the city would collect just under $12 million in the first year, which allows us to update the thermometer.