Is Multnomah County’s Tax Rate Driving People Away?

February 22, 2023

Distant view of Portland, Oregon

ECONorthwest recently produced a report for the Portland Business Alliance that examines the correlation between Portland’s high income tax rates and high-earners with disposable income choosing to live outside of Portland. Voters in Multnomah County have passed several income tax increases in recent years, aiming to address homelessness and other social issues, but are now coming face-to-face with the negative impacts of carrying such a high income tax rate—one of the highest in the country.

In an interview with KOIN, ECONorthwest’s Dr. Michael Wilkerson shared that almost 13,000 people left Multnomah County in 2021, while Clark County—right across the river, and with much lower income tax rates—saw a population increase of 6,000. Michael says the data aren’t completely clear. “It’s not necessarily an exodus from Oregon to Washington. It might be people leaving the region to go elsewhere and it’s when people are coming to the region now they’re looking at the value proposition. Saying let’s look at the impact of taxation, let’s look at the quality of life, let’s look at the cost of housing.”

Read the article here.