Universities win tax exemption

This week Gov. Kizthaber signed Senate Bill 329A, which allows Portland State’s parking facilities to be tax exempt. The revised bill allows all of the parking facilities owned by the university to be permanently exempt from property taxes.

This bill applies to parking facilities of all Oregon University System institutions. The exemption was created to provide lower parking fees for students and employees of Oregon universities.

The bill was created to renew a rule that already existed for many years, but would have expired in July, 2002. It still requires public colleges and universities to pay property taxes on the parking facilities not used for university purposes.

“PSU led the legislative efforts on this bill because of the fiscal impact it has on our budget,” said Debbie Murdock, Assistant to the President for Government Relations.

Oregon Health Sciences University, the Oregon Student Association, and the Oregon University System all fought for the bill.

Portland State officials estimated they would have payed around $740,000 a year in property taxes due to the high property vaules in the metro area.

Those costs would have been passed on to students, faculty, and staff who drive to campus, Murdock said.

According to the state’s 2001-2003 Tax Expenditure Report, the value of the property tax exemption for Oregon’s higher education parking facilities is about $1.9 million a year.