The arts tax originally due April 15 was supposed to due by 7 pm tonight, if you were paying in person, or midnight if you went online to the city's website. That deadline has been now been extended. Again. Because the city's website wasn't equipped to handle the onslaught of last-minute payers.
Says the city's Office of Management Finance, which oversees the Bureau of Revenue, which oversees the arts tax:
Due to the overwhelming response of Portlanders paying their Arts Tax, the City's website is experiencing a capacity issue.
We are working on the situation. At this point the deadline to pay the Arts Tax will be extended until the problem is resolved. We appreciate everyone's patience with this situation.
On a high usage day the website will see about 230 concurrent users. Throughout the day we have been experiencing approximately double that number just on the Arts Tax website alone.
It's a fitting turn on the would-be last day for legal payment of the tax.
Previously, city officials announced the arts tax, as of noon today, had only collected $6 million out of the $8.6 million expected by the end of the fiscal year. Then there was the problem with the public pension and Social Security collections. And the new $1,000 income minimum, which forced the initial deadline extension. Oh, and besides all of that, the $35-per-income-earner tax is the subject of lawsuits claiming it's really an unconstitutional head tax, forcing an awkward workaround with schools counting on their share of proceeds.
Two other points are worth noting. The arts tax passed with 62 percent support from voters (and, yes, we endorsed it; it's still a worthy idea in principle). And Commissioner Dan Saltzman has made the Revenue staff promise not to send bill collectors after scofflaws until they miss at least two years of payments. (But pay anyway, because it's the law.)
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