City Hall

by Joyce Clark

City of Milwaukie Bureaucracy Runs Amok

Some years ago I bought a modest second home in Milwaukie, Oregon. I bought it so my autistic disabled son would have a place to live where maybe he could get a job, some education, some social interaction - where he could function mostly on his own. He has lived there full time. I live there part time when I'm in Portland, and have entertained Portland friends there. He has paid me money towards the large expense of keeping this home. He pays what he can, but that is a very small fraction of the actual cost of keeping the home. He understands this, and finished his GED and is going to computer school in hopes of becoming independent. We lived in peaceful enjoyment of our home.

I have not claimed a loss on my income taxes because it is not allowed under Federal or State law. All days I live there are personal use days, and all days when anyone lives there for less than a market rent is a personal use day, and that loss is not allowed to be deducted. My losses are in excess of $5,000 per year. Now the City of Milwaukie has decided this is a business!

All government spending has increased at a rate way above the inflation rate or the growth rate. The citizens will not vote for any tax increases or new taxes, so all governments and the City of Milwaukie have gotten creative with fees that do not require a vote.

Phone taxes, gas taxes, pet taxes, car taxes, sin taxes, license taxes of all types - we have all seen them grow and grow. The bureaucracy must feather its nest! Better buildings, beautification, better employee benefits, more employees so there can be more meetings to come up with more creative ways to raise revenue. Notice how nice city property is, and how well the employees do as compared to those who pay the taxes. This power to tax and expand corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

Milwaukie Ordinance 5.08.030A states, "No person shall maintain, operate, engage, conduct or carry on any business within the city without first having paid the business tax as established by resolution of the city council." They further define "business" as "an enterprise, establishment, store, shop, activity, profession, or undertaking of any nature conducted directly or indirectly for private profit or benefit." Ever hungry for more revenue, the city has decided this applies to even one rental property, or I suppose a vacation rental. I guess it would apply to your kids mowing the neighbor's lawn for profit, or baby sitting their kids, or washing windows or cars. No wonder we need so many illegal aliens!

It is never enough, so the city decided to use a simple computer program to see how many water and sewer bills were mailed to a different address than the property address. Bingo! More cash! Most those identified were rentals. However, many were not! All are deemed guilty by the city. There is no appeal, no hearing, no discussion, no consideration of facts. Using the power to intimidate, knowing defense costs more and lawyers don't want the case, the City plows over all. Everyone is guilty until they can prove their innocence - except that they aren't allowed any opportunity to prove their innocence.

They won't cut their spending like taxpayers have to do, so Vote the Rascals Out every chance you get!

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