City of Bend Measure 9-110
Recreational Marijuana Sales Tax
In case you're not up to speed on the amount of tax revenue that retail recreational cannabis sales are bringing into the state of Oregon, check out the feature story in this week. ("Ganja Grows Up") The short version: An estimated $43 million will be collected in Oregon marijuana taxes in 2016 alone. Whatever your thoughts are about personal consumption of marijuana, that's a lot of money.
As it stands now, the tax on recreational marijuana sits at 25 percent. That's set to go down to 17 percent in January when the Oregon Liquor Control Commission takes over the regulation of marijuana. It's the perfect opportunity for cities—including the City of Bend—to step in and get their cut. With a vote of "yes" on Bend Measure 9-110, the City of Bend will be able to collect a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana in the city.
With legalization in place, there is no reason not to vote yes. Even with the addition of a 3 percent city recreational pot tax, local (and visiting) stoners will still be paying less tax than they have previously. Also of note, marijuana cardholders continue to be exempt from taxation.
The percentage doled out to the City of Bend will go toward the City's general fund—the money used for fire and police, as well as any general city expenditures. As Bend faces the continual challenges of funding improvement projects and planning for growth, a sales tax on an item frequently consumed by tourists and locals alike should be one highly-welcomed piece of the funding puzzle. We simply can't afford to turn down that revenue. Vote Yes on Bend Measure 9-110.
Voters are busy people. We all have jobs, homes, families and activities—and so when that ballot arrives in the mail, people often rely only on their voter's pamphlet to apprise them of the issues. That's exactly why endorsement pages such as this are so important—giving people another perspective on the candidates and the measures that'll have an impact on our lives. Even when we're personally conflicted about endorsing any candidate in a certain race, we have a mandate to do so.
The candidates, meanwhile, have to do their part. To help swing voters, they can canvas, post advertisements and participate in debates that give us a sense of what they have to offer. Most importantly, to be taken seriously they have to raise money.
That is, unless they don't.
In the race between U.S. Representative Greg Walden (R) and Jim Crary (D), both sides are guilty of not doing their part for the voters. Walden, according to Crary, has not just said "no" to a debate against Crary—he's simply avoided contact all together, which is not uncommon for Walden in these races. Crary—an attorney and longtime corporate negotiator—meanwhile, has run what could be called "campaign light." He's very light on ads, has turned down the opportunity to use the Oregon Democrats' campaign bus, and has even sent back money sent to him by supporters. He gets an "F" for effort.
All Crary would have to do is touch briefly on Walden's voting record in order to sway many voters in this district. In 2006, Walden voted yes to define marriage as only between one man and one woman. In 2011 Walden voted yes on barring the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating greenhouse gases. In 2013, Walden sponsored no permits for legal pesticide runoff into lakes and streams. In 2009, he voted against four weeks of paid parental leave for federal employees, and voted no on expanding the Children's Health Insurance Program. It wouldn't take much to convince many voters that Crary is a better choice. However, you probably haven't heard of Crary and, without a sound campaign fundraising mechanism you won't.
This race is "campaign light," but we still say vote for Jim Crary for the U.S. House.