Portland voters on November 6 approved Measure 26-201, which requires Portland retailers with both total annual gross revenue from retail sales over $1 billion and Portland annual gross revenue from retail sales over $500,000 to pay a 1% surcharge on gross revenue from retail sales within Portland. The surcharge will apply for all tax years beginning on or after January 1, 2019.
Revenues raised through the surcharge will be used to finance renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, regenerative agriculture and green infrastructure projects, and clean energy jobs training.
Several questions remain following the surcharge approval, including whether the protections of Public Law 86-272 apply since deductions from gross revenue are available, and whether foreign sales are included in the $1 billion and $500,000 thresholds.
The November elections also saw voters in San Francisco approve a local taxing measure to fund anti-homelessness programs (click here for our Insight). Portland’s large retailer surcharge could be part of a trend whereby localities, through voter measures, seek funding for special initiatives by taxing certain taxpayers or activities.