Cary CMaking Property Taxes Transparent for Oregon Voters
What could be more viscerally exciting-sounding than an interactive property tax visualization tool? The fact is, though, that because of Oregon's complex property tax system, Oregonian voters often cast their ballots on property tax measures without a clear picture of the funding results being available to them.
Due to the passage of Oregon Measure 5 and Measure 50 in the 1990s which limited the total amount of property tax that can be assessed on a property to $15 per $1000 of assessed value and capped the growth of the assessed value year over year, a little-understood phenomenon called "compression" occurs.
"Compression" makes it so that Oregon voters may cast a vote to approve or reject a new property tax thinking that the tax would entail generating new funds and increasing overall taxes. In fact, in many cases, since the overall level of property taxes in a given jurisdiction is capped, the result is that passage of a new tax actually decreases tax revenue for existing purposes, shifting some of that pre-existing tax revenue to the newly approved tax, . This "compression" phenomenon is so complex and unintuitive, that voters are often voting without any way of understanding how a given measure and property tax would play out in reality.
Creating a tool for Oregon voters that would make clear, accessible and transparent the effects of property tax compression in the case of passage of future property tax levies. Such a tool would show voters which existing revenues would be decreased in order to make room for the proposed property tax funding, how much new revenue would actually be generated, and how specific properties would be affected. This tool could take the form of a map with various buttons to toggle for proposed levies.
The kinds of data that would be needed to create this could include: