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Our Crack Election Guide: Measures 

This is how you should vote.

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Measure 77


Approval of this measure would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow the governor to declare a catastrophic disaster and call for a Legislative session to properly address needs.

Everyone agrees: Vote yes.


Measure 78


Approval of this measure would amend the Oregon Constitution to clarify language and clean up grammatical and spelling changes.

Everyone agrees: Vote yes.


Measure 79


Approval of this measure would amend the Oregon Constitution with language that would continue to prohibit local governments from taxing real estate transactions, but would also prevent the Legislature from ever allowing local governments to do so.

There is definite disagreement on this measure, but from our corner it’s a strong No  vote. There’s nothing wrong with the current language in the Constitution, which would allow the Legislature to give local communities the authority to tax real estate transactions if necessary. Taking away the flexibility and hamstringing the wisdom of the state Legislature just to give a guarantee to the real estate and housing development industries that they will never be taxed is bad policy.


Measure 80


Approval of this measure would legalize marijuana and create a state agency to oversee sales and distribution.

We don’t love the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, better known as the OLCC, and the creation of a similar agency around marijuana does not fill us with a warm glow. However, for all its flaws, a government agency regulating the rather enormous process of rectifying the chaos of half-baked marijuana legalization efforts and overzealous drug enforcement is really the only route to good policy on this issue. While there still exists real concern about increased drug use among teens and the possibility of increased drug use in the general populace, doubling down on the failed drug enforcement route is not a viable solution. Oregon voters have an obligation to come correct on this issue and address, not only the impacts that unregulated marijuana trafficking has on our community but the impacts that our poor policy has in communities throughout the North, South and Central Americas. And while we realize that social impacts may not sway the more hard-hearted voter—think of all the tax revenues we’ll gain on a substance that already has wide social use and acceptance. Oregon voters should not leave the solution to this issue in the hands of the federal government. Vote yes.


Measure 81


This measure would prohibits commercial non-tribal fishing with gillnets in Oregon “inland waters,” but allow the use of seine nets.

We say vote no. While this measure arrives swaddled in the robes of a “Save the Salmon” campaign, it is really bad policy pushed by sports fisherman to get the upper hand on the commercial salmon guys. If the net result of this measure was going to be a reduction in the amount of salmon pulled from the river we’d back it, but this measure is just a shift from net to hook. The governor stepped in with a commitment to address the issue in the Legislature, which has taken the wind out of the sails of the backers. Nonetheless, stamp “No” on your ballot to throw your vote against false “Save” campaigns.


Measure 82 & 83


These measures would amend the Oregon Constitution to allow establishment of privately-owned casinos.

You should vote no on both these measures. All signs indicate they are dead in the water. The yes on 82 & 83 campaign, backed by the Canadian private equity firm who wants to build a humongous casino east of Portland, abruptly suspended all advertising last week essentially admitting that their prospects were dim. Let’s confirm their pessimistic outlook by voting NO on measures 82 and 83. Without getting into the argument that raising state revenues through gambling is a regressive and destructive way to collect taxes, amending the constitution to allow this non-tribal casino is just wrong. Even with the provision in the measure that would give 25 percent of adjusted gross revenue to the state specifically to fund job creation and schools, the more likely scenario is that this massive casino would just move dollars away from the Oregon State Lottery and existing tribal casinos. Both of those prospects are bad for Oregonians.


Measure 84


For the past decade Kevin Mannix has made a comfortable living peddling bad ballot measures to Oregonians. Among other things he was the brains behind Measure 11 in 1994, which has clogged up the courts and forced the state to spend tens of millions on new prison cells.

This year Mannix has a new shtick, and it smells worse than anything he’s come up with yet. His Measure 84 is nothing but a shameless giveaway to the state’s multimillionaires and billionaires.

Measure 84 would gradually phase out the state estate tax, or “death tax,” as right-wingers erroneously call it. (Nobody has to pay a tax to die in Oregon or anywhere else.)

Under present law the tax applies only to estates worth more than $1 million. In a typical year, fewer than 750 estates have to pay the tax. Total revenue from it amounts to about $120 million a year.

That’s only about 2 percent of the state’s budget. But the issue here is not just the money, it’s the principle of the thing. Oregon shouldn’t be creating another tax loophole that benefits only a handful of its richest residents at the expense of schools, police protection and other services that middle-class taxpayers depend on.

Supporters of M84 raise the worn-out—and false—argument that the estate tax threatens small family farms. Fact is, family farms worth up to $7.5 million already can get an exemption from the tax.

There’s another potentially very nasty wrinkle in M84: It has a provision prohibiting the state from taxing property that’s passed “from one family member to another family member.” Some tax and legal experts believe that could be interpreted to apply to capital gains taxes. And if that happened we’d be talking about real money—as much as another $175 million a year.

Measure 84 is the wrong idea for these times—or any times. Vote no.


Measure 85


Oregon is unusual in many ways. Some are good, like having a lot of craft breweries and big trees. Some are less good, like the state’s income tax rebate or “kicker” law.

Enacted by ballot measure in 1980 and enshrined in the state constitution in 2000, Oregon’s unique kicker law requires the state to refund money to taxpayers if revenues exceed the state economist’s projection by more than 2%. The kicker makes it tough for the state to amass a surplus during good times to tide it over during bad times, such as the current stubborn recession. Result: Education and other state-funded services are forced to take brutal budget cuts.

Measure 85 on this November’s ballot would partly reform the absurd kicker law by taking the corporate portion of the refund and putting it into K-12 education. That’s a good idea for a number of reasons.

Opponents of M85 will try to tell you it would hurt small Oregon businesses. Don’t believe it. The corporate kicker applies only to C-Corporations, not sole proprietorships, partnerships, LLCs or S-Corporations – which means it excludes 75% of the businesses in the state. Almost 90% of the corporate kicker money ends up in the pockets of corporations headquartered outside of Oregon. The lion’s share – about 93% – goes to only 4% of the corporations that do business in Oregon.

Over the past 20 years the size of the corporate kicker has ranged (in the years that it was issued) from $18 million to $344 million. That’s money that Oregon schools – which in recent years have had to lay off thousands of teachers, increase class sizes and chop days off the school year – badly need.

Measure 85 won’t solve all the problems of the schools, but at least it will put them on a path toward more financial stability. And that makes it worth your vote.


Bond Measure No. 9-86


The Bend Park and Recreation District has a pretty firm handle on what makes Bend tick.

By continually acquiring and improving land for public use, Parks has helped ensure that our Central Oregon hideaway retains its reputation as one of the most attractive, outdoorsy and accessible towns in America. Now, with low bond rates, competitive construction costs, affordable land prices and willing partners, such as the Bend Paddle Trail Alliance, Parks says it’s time to move forward with a new slate of projects.

Given their lengthy to-do list, it appears that the district has been listening to its constituents. Time and again residents have indicated that linking segments of the river trail from Sunriver to Bend is a top priority. The $29 million bond measure would do that. Measure 9-86 would also ensure the development of existing parks, including the Bend Pine Nursery, expand neighborhood parks in underserved areas, create safe passage at the Colorado dam and open the door for a whitewater play park and fund a seasonal community ice skating rink.

Bend already has more than 60 parks as well as a myriad of trails that snake through the urban growth boundary and, with such recent high-profile land acquisitions as the Miller Landing site, Gopher Gulch and the Mt. Bachelor Park and Ride lot, the park district has proved that it’s committed to promoting play and expanding Bend’s green space.

And for some who might not be as recreationally minded as many of our newer residents, we like to remind that these amenities are what relocate jobs here. Increasing quality of life through a Bond is a small investment in maintaining the areas attractive competitive edge.

Funding Bond Measure 9-86 is a small investment for taxpayers but a big investment for Bend’s future. Vote yes.





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