Voters overwhelmingly rejected the measure by a vote of 26 to 238, with 82 percent voting against in partial votes on Tuesday.
The measure, initiated by tenant rights groups and backed by more than 60 housing, community and labor groups, would impose a 0.75% tax on capital gains – gains from the sale of properties such as homes, stocks and bonds or business. The fee should be increased from $12 million to $15 million per year to fund renters’ free legal representation in Multnomah County Evictions Court.
The measure required that eviction cases be deferred until an attorney was appointed and required the county to contract with at least five nonprofit law firms or community organizations to provide legal services. Opponents included major real estate and business groups, but also a handful of groups working with low-income tenants and a large number of elected officials: the entire Portland City Council, four Multnomah County commissioners, and US Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D- Portland.
opponents of the measure refrained from denouncing the policy of legal representation of tenants.But they attacked the capital gains tax as a funding mechanism, saying the measure could also hit low-income residents like small business owners by exempting businesses.
“Good intentions don’t always translate to good policies,” said Andrew Hoan, chief executive officer and chair of the Portland Business Alliance, which opposed the measure. “Voters have realized that if we already have tax-funded programs in place to help renters facing evictions, we don’t need another tax on local households and small businesses.”
opponents argued that the 2001 House Bill funded the eviction defense a housing law signed into law by Gov. Tina Kotek in March; He donated $18 million to Multnomah County in April to help prevent homelessness; and voter-approved housing assistance in 2020 overseen by Metro.