Friday, August 29, 2008

OR Measure 56: Removes Property Tax Double Majority Requirement

OR Elections: SUMMARY: Current law requires that 50 percent of voters participate in an election (except general elections in even-numbered years) in order to pass local property tax measures to raise money for schools, police, libraries, parks or other local government services. This means that non-votes have the effect of a “no” vote where less than 50 percent of qualified voters participate. All other elections are determined by a majority of those who vote, with no voter turnout requirements. This measure eliminates the voter turnout requirement for local property tax elections held in May and November. As a result, for such elections, measures to raise money for schools, police, libraries, parks or other local government services become law when approved by a majority of those voting.

[X] Yes

“Yes” vote provides that majority of voters voting in May and November elections may pass local property tax measure to fund schools, police, local services.

EMO (pdf): "Anti-tax measures like the double-majority requirement have crippled the ability of state and local governments to provide effective services and address critical human needs. The passage of this measure is especially timely given the likely loss of federal timber revenues, which will leave many rural counties dramatically underfunded. . ."

Portland Mercury
The Oregonian
Portland Tribune

League of Women Voters
• ACLU (pdf)
Basic Rights OR
OR Working Families Party
Sierra Club
From Arguments in Favor: pdf, pdf, pdf:
• Gov. Ted Kulongoski
• Treasurer Randall Edwards
• Portland Mayor Tom Potter
• HP
• Stand for Children
• OR Business Assn
• OR Consumer League
• OR School Boards Assn
• PPS Board Dir. Bobbie Regan
• 8 labor groups
[_] No
“No” vote retains current law where non-votes have effect of “no” vote in certain local elections where less than 50 percent of voters participate. "No":
Jack Bogdanski
OR "Family" Council
Victoria Taft

From arguments in opposition (pdf):
• Taxpayer Assn of OR
• Americans For Prosperity - Washington County
• Bill Sizemore/OR Tax Payers United
• OR Sen Larry George

MY FIRST IMPRESSION: I've always been against double majority laws. First, why limit double majority laws to tax issues only? Are not all measures important? More importantly, counting irresponsible voters as "no" votes is not democratic. Registering to vote means taking responsibility. Voting in Oregon is so easy that there is no excuse for an anti-tax activist to claim it's too hard.

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