Opinion: With good intentions, eviction-focused capital gains taxc does more harm than good

This text is about how to file and pay taxes on cryptocurrency gains.

Opinion: With good intentions, eviction-focused capital gains taxc does more harm than good

It is vital that we keep people in their own homes during these tough times.

Measure 26-238 may appear to be a solution to renters' problems, but it actually does more harm than benefit, due to the new, adjustable capital gains tax that is proposed to fund programs to prevent evictions. We all agree that the tax will hurt our small businesses, vulnerable residents and communities. We urge you not to vote for this tax.

Measure 26-238 imposes a new local tax of 0.75% on net capital gains, including those from the sale of a home or certain assets like retirement investments. This tax is imposed on all Multnomah county residents regardless of their income, gain or ability to pay. No income thresholds are set, and there are no exemptions. There is also no protection for those selling their homes. Payment begins with the first dollar in any gain. For example, you could make $10 selling cryptocurrency and have to pay this tax.

The program's costs, too, are not certain. The city's Revenue Bureau estimates that almost half of its annual revenue goes to collection costs. Capital gains are also a volatile source of income. Annually, the tax rate must be compared to program costs and adjusted in order to ensure 18 months' funding. The tax rate is not limited.

This tax will create new barriers for Black, Asian, and other BIPOC business owners who are already facing economic inequities rooted in systemic racism. This tax is unfair, and it burdens small business owners who are already facing a challenging economic climate. Our communities must achieve sustainable, lasting economic equity in the face of ever-changing economic waves. We know that focusing on growth is important for the first, second, and third generations of people in Portland.

Measure 26-238 wasn't written for everyone. The tax may be misunderstood by older populations or members of our community who speak limited English. They could incur penalties and late fees. It is unfair to our under-resourced and under-represented populations and poses an issue of equity.

This tax will only be paid by small, mid-sized, locally owned businesses, Seniors, and Retirees. Corporations will not have to pay.

We must support services that help keep housing affordable for families and enable them to stay in their home. Multnomah county is already funding programs to prevent evictions, such as legal representation and rent assistance in an emergency, due to the Supportive Housing Services Tax approved by voters. The legislature has just added millions to the budget for these services.

It is a mistake to add a local capital gain tax. Although Measure 26-238 may seem well-intentioned at first glance, the real impact is what matters. Measure 26-238 will do more harm than benefit, disproportionately affecting Blacks, AAPIs and BIPOCs, while also harming Multnomah county's economic development.

Please join us and vote no on Measure 26-38 on the 16th of May. We don't want to burden small businesses or families with additional costs at a time when many businesses and people are leaving the county. Voting no sends a clear message that we support a thoughtful, well-considered public policy to address the issue, without harming our most vulnerable citizens. Let's all work together to create a stronger and more equitable economy that benefits everyone in our community.