Rep. Richardson’s 2006 Ballot Measure Analysis

The 2006 Oregon Ballot Measures are vitally important to the future of our state. My goal today is to share my analysis for each of the 10 Ballot Measures being considered. Regardless of your district or political affiliation, and regardless of how you personally may vote on any of the ballot measures, I hope you find this Ballot Measure Analysis informative.

Depending on your time and interest, you can review the ballot measures in order or merely click on ones that interest you. If your opinion is different than mine, no problem, it’s your vote. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my opinions and reasoning with you. Whether we agree or disagree, at least you know the basis for my recommendations.


Dennis Richardson
State Representative
Speaker Pro Tempore

39:Condemnation of Personal Property –YES
40: Election of Judges — YES
41: State Income Tax Deductions — YES
42:Credit Scores and Insurance — NO
43: Parental Notification for Abortion — YES
44: Prescription Drug Program — YES
45:Term Limits of Oregon Legislators — NO
46:Allows for Campaign Funding Laws — YES
47: Sets Campaign Finance Limits — NO
48: State Spending Limit and Rainy Day Fund– YES

Ballot Measure 39

Government should honor and protect personal property rights unless there is a specific public policy interest to justify eminent domain. Using the government’s power of eminent domain to take property from one private party so it can be developed by another private party is not such an interest.

Current law allows taking of private property by a government if the government can show the property will provide a public purpose and if the property owner is justly compensated. If no agreement on compensation can be reached the parties may go to court where the property’s value will be decided. Today each party is responsible for their own attorney fees and other related costs unless the value of the property determined by the court is more than the highest written offer made by the government before the case went to trial. In that case, the government must pay for the property owner’s court costs and fees.

Condemnations of the type discussed above are usually done so the property can be used for public purposes such as the widening of a street. However, a recent decision by the US Supreme Court in the Kilo case opened the door for government entities to condemn property that will then be sold to another private party.

Ballot Measure 39 changes Oregon law by limiting the authority of the government to condemn residences, businesses, farms or forest land if the government entity intends to then transfer the property to another private party. This measure would also require the government entity to pay the property owner’s attorney fees and other costs if the value of the property determined by the court is more than the first offer made by the government instead of the highest offer.

Ross Day & Dave Hunnicutt

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
Ballot Measure 39 will require annual state and local government budget expenditures of approximately $17.25 million and $8-13 million respectively.

“¢ Protects private property rights.
“¢ Requires government to make its best offer first.
“¢ Makes it harder for developers to obtain large tracts of land for new projects.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 40


Appellate judges should be selected from among the people at large and not merely from attorneys in the Portland-Salem corridor. Oregon has both urban and rural interests and its Appellate Judges should come from both demographics. Measure 40 would ensure the panel of appellate judges will come from a cross-section of the state.

Judges on the Oregon Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals are elected on a statewide basis and the courts hear cases primarily in Salem.

Ballot Measure 40 amends the Oregon Constitution to require that judges of the Oregon Supreme Court and the Court of Appeals be elected by district. If approved the Legislature would be required to divide the state into seven districts for appointing and electing Supreme Court Judges and into five appellate districts with two Court of Appeals judges being elected or appointed from each.

Abner Bobo, Carol Bobo & Russ Walker

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
If the measure requires judges to remain physically present in their districts, court functions would have to change so judges could work outside of Salem. The costs will depend on the locations of the districts and will likely be between $600,000 and $1,500,000 biennially beginning in 2007-2009.

“¢ Provides regional diversity on the appellate courts.
“¢ Trial court judges are already elected by district.
“¢ Makes judges more accountable.

“¢ Reduces the number of appellate judges each Oregonian gets to elect from 17 down to 3.
“¢ Judges interpret the law for all Oregonians and all Oregonians should have a say in their election.
“¢ It is the job of the legislature, not judges, to represent the people.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 41


The key to lessening dependence on government programs and to lifting young and poor families out of poverty is to lessen their tax burdens. Measure 41 is family-friendly legislation that llowers tax burdens 24% for families earning less than $20,000. For a working mom earning $27,500 who pays childcare for two children her tax liability decreases $423″”a 135% reduction. (LRO, p.10) The key to a successful economy is to enable families to spend more money on their own needs. Oregon State’s spending has escalated at 200-300% more than inflation for the past 15 years. Such increases are clearly unsustainable. Measure 41 will allow more money to stay in the pockets of the people and require more efficiency in the way state government operates. When needed, an emergency spending process is provided. This is pro-family legislation.

Currently Oregon Taxpayers may take a personal exemption tax credit for each exemption allowed under federal tax law. In 2005, that exemption was $154. Federal law allows taxpayers to take a $3,200 deduction for each exemption. ($3,400 projected for 2007.)
Ballot Measure 41 changes the way Oregon law treats personal exemptions by giving taxpayers the option of taking a tax deduction equal to the amount deducted on their federal tax returns. A taxpayer will be able to claim either the new deduction created by Ballot Measure 41 or take the existing personal exemption credit if the credit would result in a lower tax rate.

Since the measure is statutory the legislature can make changes. A repeal, delay or decrease in the amount of the deduction allowed would be subject to a 3/5 vote of both houses of the Legislature.

CHIEF PETITIONER(S): Abner Bobo, Carol Bobo & Russ Walker

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
Ballot Measure 41 will reduce personal income tax collections in the upcoming fiscal years.
“¢ 2006-07: $151 million reduction
“¢ 2007-08: $385 million reduction
“¢ 2008-09: $407 million reduction
“¢ 2009-10: $430 million reduction

Due to the reduction in 2006-07 tax collections the 2007 “kicker” will be reduced by $151 million.

“¢ Limits the growth of government.
“¢ Makes the state and federal tax codes more uniform.
“¢ Reduces taxes for most Oregonians by about $141 per year in 2007 (LRO Bulletin), allowing them to spend more of their money in their communities.

“¢ Will reduce the amount of the 2007 kicker due to a reduction in tax collections.
“¢ Cuts state revenues by $400 million beginning in 2008, more than 90% of these cuts would come from Human Services, Public Safety and Education.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office. See also Legislative Revenue Office Bulletin “Measure 41″”Changing Oregon’s Treatment of Personal Exemptions”

Ballot Measure 42


Although it makes sense to rate car insurance premiums on an individual’s driving record, why should we pass a law precluding credit history from an insurance company’s underwriting criteria? If credit ratings are an unreliable underwriting criteria and good drivers with poor credit ratings are being overcharged, the insurance marketplace will adjust and some company will recognize the opportunity and fill the niche by offering lower premiums for that segment of the insurance buying public.

Current law prohibits insurance companies from canceling, re-rating or failing to renew current insurance policies based on credit history or credit based insurance scores. When a consumer applies for new personal insurance coverage insurance companies may only use a credit history to decline coverage when the history is considered with other factors. An insurance company accepting an application for a new policy may offer higher rates or premiums because of an underwriting decision based on a less than favorable credit history but the company must notify the consumer about its decision and other rights the consumer may have. Additionally, insurance companies may use credit-based scoring in setting rates only if the companies have filed their credit-based scoring models with the Oregon Insurance Commissioner.

Ballot Measure 42 prohibits insurance companies selling or marketing medical, health, accident, automobile, fire, or liability insurance from calculating rates or premiums based on a consumer’s credit history.

Bill Sizemore & Grace I. Sizemore

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
There is no financial effect on state or local revenues or expenditures.

“¢ Consumers will be evaluated on risk factors like their driving record rather than their financial situation.
“¢ Prevents your insurance rates from going up if your identity is stolen and your credit is harmed.
“¢ Assures mistakes on your credit report do not increase your insurance premiums.

“¢ Could increase rates for policy holders who have benefited by having a good credit history.
“¢ Studies show that those with poor credit also pose higher rates of insurance risk.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 43


In my last newsletter I analyzed why I believe it appropriate for a 15 or 16 year old girl to discuss with her parent or at least a knowledgeable adult before undergoing a surgical abortion. For convenience I have reprinted that newsletter below.

From my September 29, 2006 Newsletter:
Yesterday morning I appeared on the Jefferson Public Radio (KSOR 90.1 FM) Jefferson Exchange program moderated by guest host Jeffrey Riley. The topic was ballot Measure 43 regarding parental notification for 15, 16, and 17 year old girls before they undergo an abortion. Kelley DeVore of Planned Parenthood Health Services of Southern Oregon spoke against the measure and I spoke in favor of it. While Ms. DeVore and I disagree on the topic, the discussion was amicable and I thank Ms. DeVore for her friendly attitude and demeanor.

From the outset, please understand Measure 43 is not a Pro-life vs. Pro-choice issue. Measure 43 is about two questions:

1. When appropriate, should the parents be informed before their pregnant teenage daughter receives an abortion? or

2. When a pregnant teenage girl wants to undergo an abortion and is unwilling or unable to talk with her parents, should she first be required to discuss her decision with a designated, impartial adult?

As a parent of 8 daughters, as an attorney concerned about abortions arranged and funded for their victims by adult men, and as a citizen who understands the consequences of such important decisions on a young girl’s life, I say “yes” to both questions. Today’s Medford Mail Tribune Editorial agrees. If you are uncertain in your opinion, please read on.

Several listeners called in during yesterday’s KSOR broadcast. One was a woman named Grace from Roseburg. She related a tragic story involving her daughter. We have linked a copy of Grace’s story if you would like to read it for yourself.

In summary, Grace’s story is a reminder to all parents, that sometimes our children make mistakes. Grace’s daughter was a Senior in high school. She did not have a boyfriend, but one night at a party, things got out of hand. A few weeks later she determined she was pregnant. Like most pregnant teenage girls, Grace’s daughter did not want to disappoint her parents. She went for advice to a family planning clinic. The counselor informed her of her options and told her,

“You can have an abortion and your parents don’t have to know about it. “¦You don’t have to tell them and nobody will find out.”

Grace’s daughter had the abortion. She told only one friend of her predicament. Word quickly spread about the abortion. Grace found out from a family member who told her that her daughter had an abortion and everyone at school knew about it. Grace and her husband were devastated. After asking their daughter about the rumor, she tearfully told them she didn’t want them to be disappointed in her, so she chose to have an abortion.

The daughter’s decision to have an abortion was a turning point in her life. She dropped out of high school with only 3 weeks remaining before graduation. Now, years later, Grace’s daughter, “is still experiencing deep grief and depression associated with making a decision to abort her baby.”

Requiring notification to parents or another designated adult is not unique to Oregon. In fact, Oregon is only one of 6 states that do not have some type of parental involvement legislation. Why do 44 states have some form of parental involvement? Because having an abortion is a monumental decision, and teenage girls need to talk it over with an adult before making it.

A study published in Family Planning Perspectives found that for girls in this age group, 60% failed to inform their parents about having an abortion. Of girls whose parents did not know they were pregnant 89% consulted only their boyfriend…89%. In a State where girls cannot get their ears pierced or get even aspirin from a school nurse without parental consent, how can we allow our daughters to make such a life changing decision without first talking to a functioning adult?

There is another reason why an adult should be consulted before a teenage girl consents to having an abortion. Sometimes the pregnancy results from incest or other sexual abuse. In those cases, talking to an adult can prevent the perpetrator from impregnating a young girl, taking her to an abortion clinic, then returning her to the abusive situation with no one the wiser. I explain this situation in my Voter’s Pamphlet article in favor of Measure 43. It reads as follows:

As a member of the Oregon House of Representatives, I was honored to be the chief sponsor of the PARENTAL NOTIFICATION BILL. After thorough review by legislative legal experts and close scrutiny through public testimony and legislative debate, the bill was passed by the Oregon House. Its opponents then killed it for political reasons. We citizens now have the power to do what the politicians refused to do. Measure 43 is good policy and it will work. Those that tell you otherwise are just playing politics.

Oregon law enables a young girl to have an abortion without her parent’s knowledge. When sexual abuse has occurred, under current law the abuser can drive his pregnant teenage victim to a clinic, pay the abortion fee, and drive her home with no one the wiser. Ballot Measure 43 will stop such sexual abuse from reoccurring, and bring the culprit to justice.

But what about the girl who, for whatever reason, cannot talk to her parents? Ballot Measure 43 provides a young and inexperienced girl immediate and private access to an independent government representative. After determining the girl understands the nature and consequences of her decision, this concerned adult has authority to give permission in place of her parents. Once again, by talking to a concerned adult, if the pregnancy was caused by sexual abuse, the girl’s abuser can be brought to justice.

My wife and I have raised eight daughters and we now have the privilege of watching our granddaughters grow up. Our hearts reach out to those parents who are left to pick up the emotional pieces of their daughter’s broken hearts, without knowing the cause of her deep-rooted depression, self-doubt, and sometimes suicide.

We need to protect young pregnant girls from continuing sexual abuse while respecting relationships between parents and their daughters.

If you want additional information on this important issue for parents, girls and families, see my special Measure 43 page on my website.

Obviously, I will be voting Yes on Measure 43. If you continue to be uncertain as to your position, please take the time to review the information, so you can make your own informed decision on this important issue.

Ballot Measure 44


Allowing poor, uninsured Oregonians to benefit from the State’s bulk prescription purchasing program helps the poor and elderly to pay less for lifesaving and pain relieving drugs.

The Oregon Prescription Drug Program helps needy Oregonians afford their prescription drugs by allowing the state to negotiate bulk pricing with drug manufacturers. The program is currently limited to Oregon residents who meet the following criteria:
“¢ At least 54 years old
“¢ Earn less the 185% of the federal poverty level (currently $18,130 per individual)
“¢ Have not had private prescription drug coverage for at least six months.

Ballot Measure 44 expands the Oregon Prescription Drug Program by removing eligibility requirements so that all Oregonians without prescription drug coverage and regardless of age or income may participate. Those Oregonians with Medicare Part D coverage would also be eligible to join.

Bill Morrisette & Gerald J. Cohen

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
No direct financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenue is expected.

“¢ Provides less expensive prescription medication to Oregonians without health insurance.
“¢ Many seniors with Medicare Part D will reach a gap in coverage known as the “doughnut hole.” While in this gap they will need to pay full price for their prescriptions. Reduced rates will help seniors in the gap afford their medications.
“¢ The existing program has not attracted large numbers of Oregonians.
“¢ The program is a disincentive to purchase private insurance coverage.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 45


“Three sessions and you’re out” legislative term limits throw out both conscientious legislators and leave the Legislature in the control of inexperienced officials, who are at the mercy of knowledgeable bureaucrats and special interest advocates. In the past century a relatively small number of legislators served more terms than Measure 45 would have allowed, had it been the law. This is a solution looking for a problem. As a legislator who replaced an incumbent in a primary election, I know first hand, voters already determine when a legislator’s term is up. Voters get a chance to keep good legislators and replace bad or ineffective ones every two years for state Representatives and every four years for state Senators.

Ballot Measure 45 amends the Oregon Constitution to add a new section limiting the number of years a person may serve in the House to six, in the Senate to eight and no more than at total of 14 in the Legislative Assembly. The new limits apply to all years of legislative service before the measure takes effect however any person elected or appointed before January 1, 2007 may complete their term of office.

Theodore F. Berthelote

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
No financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues is expected.

“¢ Allows more Oregonians to participate in the legislative process.
“¢ Approved by 70% of Oregon voters in 1992 but thrown out by the courts.
“¢ Removes the power wielded by long-term incumbents.
“¢ Increases the power bureaucrats and lobbyists who will have more experience than legislators.
“¢ Voters already hold the power to remove lawmakers each time they stand for election.
“¢ Forces out Senators and Representatives who serve their districts and the state well and are respected by their constituents.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 46


The cost of campaigns is increasing at an unreasonable and unsustainable rate, yet, no one has proposed a workable and fair way to restrain the escalation in campaign costs. Unfortunately, no one has yet proposed a workable and fair way to restrain the escalation in campaign costs. [Measure 47 certainly is not the answer.] Nevertheless, there may come a time when a good solution could be embraced, but under Oregon’s current Constitution, it would be almost impossible to do so. Measure 46 basically says that when a good idea for reforming campaign spending is proposed and if and when ¾ of the legislators in both houses pass it, it will be able to be implemented. Getting a ¾ vote from both houses on anything is an extremely high standard, so I am ok with allowing such a super-majority vote by both houses to stand. Although the backers of Measures 46 and 47 are hoping for both to pass, and although I support Measure 46, as I will explain next, I strongly oppose Measure 47.

Article 1, section 8, of the Oregon Constitution does not allow laws that prohibit or impose limits on political campaign contributions or expenditures for state or local public office.

Ballot Measure 46 amends the Oregon Constitution to allow laws to be passed or amended that prohibit or limit campaign contributions. A three-fourths vote of both houses would be necessary to amend or create new campaign finance laws but voters may adopt new laws or amend existing campaign contribution or expenditure limits by a simple majority.

CHIEF PETITIONER(S): David E. Delk, Jim Robison & Ruth Duemler

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
No financial effect on state or local government expenditures or revenues is expected.

“¢ Could force candidates to reach out to more people, rather than a few large donors, in order to finance their campaigns.
“¢ May reduce the impact and influence of large donors and special interests.
“¢ May reduce spending on political campaigns by candidates and special interests.
“¢ Allows different treatment for incumbents challengers.
“¢ Could require contributions made to candidate campaigns be turned over to the state.
“¢ Could limit free speech by limiting independent expenditures.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 47


Measure 47 is in my opinion, a carefully crafted deception on the voters of Oregon. It is the longest and most complicated ballot measure I have ever read. It makes reading the Internal Revenue Code seem like comic strips. Measure 47 starts out by thoroughly exposing the failings of Oregon’s current campaign financing system. Due to the daunting length and complexity of the 9 single-spaced pages, I believe its sponsors hope voters would stop after the first page and just vote in favor of the measure.

I spent two hours following the money trails woven throughout this ballot measure. Here is what I found. Measure 47 states its goal as follows:

“The purpose of this Act is to restore democracy in Oregon and reduce corruption and the appearance of corruption by limiting political campaign contributions”¦. These limits “¦ are needed so that corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals do not exercise undue and disproportionate influence over the results of elections and upon the policies and decisions of candidates and public officeholders.” (2006 Voter’s Pamphlet 1, page 122.)

Sounds good so far. Who would not be against restoring democracy, reducing corruption and limiting the influence of corporations and unions and wealthy folks?

Later on the measure says:

“”¦’independent expenditures’ “¦ provided conduits for corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals to circumvent limits on contributions to candidates for federal office.” (V.P.. p. 124)
“(x) “˜Political Nonprofit Organization’ means a nonprofit corporation or association which: (5) Cannot serve as a conduit for contributions or expenditures by corporations, other business entities or labor unions. “¦ (7) Has not received any payment for providing products or services to corporations, other business entities, or labor unions. (V.P.. p. 127.)
“Corporations and labor unions may not contribute to candidates, political committees or political parties.” (V.P. p. 131, Explanatory Statement)
“A corporation, labor union or other entity may not make independent expenditures supporting or opposing a candidate or political party.” (Ibid. p. 131.)

Still sounds like the Measure 47 is going to rein in corporations, unions and wealthy people across the board. That’s good so long as the implied fairness is what has been drafted throughout the bill. Unfortunately, that is not the case.

The measure creates what are referred to as Small Donor Committees. After the drafters explain in detail how candidates, corporations, unions and wealthy folks should be carefully scrutinized and drastically limited in what they can contribute to campaigns to reduce corruption and undue influence, we are told there is nothing to fear from Small Donor Committees,

“(q) Contributions from individuals of fifty dollars ($50) or less to small donor committees pose little or no risk of corruption, because contributions to these committees will reflect public support for the committee’s political positions and will not enable the contributors to exercise undue influence over elected officials or over the results of elections.” (V.P. p. 124.)

Why would well-funded Small Donor Committees (SDC’s) “pose little or no risk of corruption?” Because the Measure 47 drafter’s say so.

Since Small Donor Committees are declared to be incorruptible, they are excluded from the limitations imposed on more corruptible villains such as corporations, candidates, unions and wealthy people.

Since SDC’s can only receive small contributions of $50 or less, how can there be a problem? The problem stems from the creation of another new entity called the “Membership Organization.”

“Membership Organization” means a non-profit organization having individual members who have paid dues to join or maintain membership in the organization” (V.P. p.126.)

Essentially, Membership Organizations must be able to collect dues from their members and they can send as much as $50 per year per contributor of those dues in lump sum to “one and only one small donor committee.” (Ibid.) Since certain “dues collecting” organizations have thousands of employees or members, we’re talking about a lot of money.

So, now we see that Small Donor Committees can be funded both by individuals contributing $50 or less and by Membership Organizations that can collect tens of thousands of dollars through mandatory contributions of payroll deducted dues and funnel that money in lump sum to its own Small Donor Committee. Such a fully controlled Small Donor Committee can then spend that money for the candidates and campaigns of its choice without limit or restraint.

Out of Measure 47’s four demons of campaign contribution corruption””corporations, candidates, unions and wealthy people””that are supposedly going to be universally controlled, is any able to continue unlimited spending on candidates and campaigns by funneling its political money to Small Donor Committees?

For the answer we visit the website of the primary backers of Measure 47, FairElection Oregon, where it states the following regarding Management Organizations and Small Donor Committees:

“A membership organization (Sierra Club, labor union, etc.) can even transfer up to $50 per year of regular membership dues into its Small Donor Committee. A Small Donor Committee can use all of these funds to support or oppose one candidate, if it chooses, or any number of candidates.”

“Small Donor Committees Under Measure 47, Small Donor Committees (SDC’s) can accept only contributions from individuals of up to $50 per year. Membership groups, including unions, can allocate dues to the SDC, up to $50 per member per year. Each union local with authority to support or oppose candidates can form an SDC.” (underlining added; See PowerPoint presentation, slide #27)

Thus, Measure 47 buries its reader in details that would make a Philadelphia lawyer’s eyes cross. With a careful reading, what was intended to appear as a fair and universal restriction on Oregon campaign expenditures is, in fact, a stacked deck. Measure 47 would unfairly limit spending for candidates, corporations and individuals, while giving a free pass for unbridled spending for dues collecting unions and clubs through organizations referred to innocuously as Small Donor Committees.

The state of Oregon does not currently have any limitations on campaign contributions or expenditures. Instead the system is built on full disclosure by political action committees through the Secretary of State’s Office.

Ballot Measure 47 limits or prohibits certain political campaign contributions and expenditures for state and local offices. The limits and prohibitions include:
“¢ Bans contributions and independent expenditures from corporations and labor unions. These groups are allowed to establish PACs consisting only of voluntary contributions from individuals.
“¢ Limits contributions to candidates for statewide office to $500 and $100 to candidates for non-statewide offices.
“¢ A political committee is limited to contributions of no more than $2,000 per election to candidates for statewide office and $400 per election for non-statewide office.
“¢ Limits contributions by a candidate to his or her campaign to $50,000 for a statewide office and $10,000 for a non-statewide office. A candidate may contribute 50% more it they are not an incumbent.
“¢ Individuals are limited to independent expenditures of $10,000 per calendar year.
“¢ Funds left over in candidate PACs will go to the state of Oregon to offset the cost of the Voters’ Pamphlet (up to $10,000 can be transferred for use in performing legislative duties).

Francis G. Nelson, Peter Buckley & Bryn Hazell

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
This measure will require $1,012,020 in state expenditures in the first year and less than $100,000 in state expenditures each year thereafter. No financial effect on state government revenues is expected.

“¢ Forces candidates to reach out to more people, rather than a few large donors, in order to finance their campaigns.
“¢ Reduces the impact and influence of large donors and special interests.
“¢ Reduces spending on political campaigns by candidates and special interests.
“¢ Treats incumbents differently than challengers.
“¢ Excludes ballot measure committees.
“¢ Contributions made to candidate campaigns are for their use and do not belong to the state.
“¢ Limits free speech by limiting independent expenditures.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.

Ballot Measure 48


I have read Measure 48 and the arguments in favor and in opposition. I know by recommending a YES vote I am contrary to the majority of my fellow Legislators, and the experienced politicos in the lobby, unions and government agencies. Nevertheless, after careful consideration, I support Measure 48 for the following reasons:

First, Measure 48 has learned from the mistakes of Colorado’s TABOR. Many who oppose Measure 48 wrongfully compare it to the Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). Colorado’s TABOR is a limitations on Revenues at both the state and local levels. TABOR required any revenues over the spending limitations to be refunded to Colorado taxpayers. TABOR’s problems began when the recession hit and revenues plummeted and the allowable spending limit “ratcheted down” with the reduced revenues. After the recovery began, Colorado could not increase its spending from the lowest point of the recession by more than the combined population and inflation rates. Thus, Colorado state services were prevented from being restored after the recession ended because of the “ratchet down” affect.

Measure 48 is a limitation of Spending, not revenues, and only applies to the state and not local governments. By limiting only state spending, Measure 48 only restrains increases in future budgets to an increase equal to Oregon’s combined population and inflation rates. What this means is during current economic boom periods where revenues exceed allowable, adjusted spending amounts, the excess revenue will be placed by the Legislature into a “rainy day” savings account. When the inevitable economic downturn occurs, instead of massive and drastic cuts in programs, benefits and education, the insufficient tax revenues can be supplemented from the rainy day fund, and Oregon’s essential services can continue without substantial negative consequences. Thus, Measure 48 smoothes out the highs and lows of Oregon’s economy by saving money during economic good times, and supplementing inadequate revenues during economic downturns. Long ago such planning worked well for Joseph and the Egyptians, and it makes good sense for Oregon today.

Second, Oregon’s increases in spending cannot be sustained. Oregon’s spending patterns are unsustainable over time, yet the Legislature seems compelled to spend every dollar it hopes to get from a rising revenue forecast. In short, the Legislature is addicted to money. For the passed 17 years the Oregon Legislature has increased state spending by 7% per year, while inflation has averaged only 2.7% per year. Thus, state expenditures have been increasing by more than 2 ½ times the rate of inflation. In addition, Oregon revenue over time increases at about 3-4% per year. Therefore, (a.) Oregon state’s annual expenditure increases nearly double its average annual revenue increases; (b.) Oregon’s long term debt has increased to $9 billion requiring hundreds of millions of dollars in debt payments each budget cycle; and (c.) Historically, the Legislature’s ultimate response to its inability to live within its means is to pass tax increases that are repeatedly rebuffed by the taxpayers. A constitutional spending cap will force the legislature to live within its means.

Third, Oregon Legislature will not fund a Rainy Day Fund without a spending cap. The lesson should still be vivid in all of our memories of what it was like during our recent recession, when we did not have a rainy day fund””closing down State Police labs, reducing health benefits for the elderly and disabled, shutting down schools early, eliminating music and art classes and combining classes to save money. I am convinced that without a spending cap, the Legislature will continue to spend every dollar during economic growth times, and then be faced with an over-sized and unsustainable government when the next recession occurs. A constitutional spending cap will result in the Legislature having more money than it can legally spend during boom periods. That extra money can finally fund a real “rainy day” savings account. By creating a substantial rainy day fund now, when the next recession hits there will be enough money in savings to maintain our public safety, our essential human services and our children’s public education, when tax revenues are inadequate.

Finally, Measure 48 will result in transferring many government responsibilities to communities. Unlike, Colorado’s TABOR, Measure 48 only applies to state government, not local government. If enacted, the constitutional spending limit will force the Governor and Legislature to re-evaluate the size, structure and costs of services provided. Government reform is vitally needed.

Did you know Oregon is spending more than $100 million this biennium in payments to parents after they have adopted a child? Monthly post-adoption payments continue for most children until the child turns 18. The costs for post-adoption payments have increased 400% in the past decade.

Did you know Oregon is spending more than $9,000 per year for every child in foster care for administration costs? That figure does not include millions of dollars of monthly payments to foster parents.

Did you know that after backing out the items not subject to Measure 48, the second largest single expenditure for Oregon after education is PERS? ($5.275 Billion this biennium.)

Oregon state spending cannot continue to increase at more than twice the rate of inflation. The Legislature seems incapable of long term planning so long as it can continue spending every dollar of available revenue. If Measure 48 were implemented, not only would State government need to reinvent itself, but, in my opinion, it would ultimately transfer additional responsibilities to local government with corresponding funding. Since Measure 48 applies only to State government, I believe transferring greater responsibilities and revenues to local government would be both permissible and inevitable. The closer government is to the voters, the more responsible and responsive it is to the people. Over time, I believe transitioning additional responsibilities and revenues to local government would be a very positive step for Oregon citizens.

In conclusion, after careful consideration I believe Measure 48 would, in fact, rein in spending, result in creation of a true Rainy Day Fund, require needed reforms and prioritization in spending, and redirect responsibilities and revenues to local government, where programs could be conducted more effectively, efficiently and economically.

The state of Oregon budgets for two-year periods beginning July 1 of odd numbered years. The constitution requires the Legislature to adopt budgets that do not exceed the revenue predicted for that same two-year period. State law also limits general fund spending to eight percent of personal income in any biennium but to date the law has not affected the budget.

Ballot Measure 48 limits state spending through a constitutional amendment. If adopted state spending in any two-year period cannot grow by more than the combined rate of the increase in population and inflation. The spending limit can be broken by a 2/3 vote of both houses of the legislature and approval by a majority of voters. The amendment would apply to revenues collected from but not limited to: income tax, lottery receipts, tuition, professional licenses and other taxes and fees. The limit would not apply to federal funds, voluntary donations and proceeds from bond sales approved by the voters. Revenue spent on tax and “kicker” refunds or money placed in a “rainy day” fund would not be subject to the limitation. Money in the “rainy day” fund could not be spent without a 2/3 vote of both houses.

Don McIntire, Jason Williams & Greg Howe

FISCAL IMPACT (if applicable):
The measure would limit growth in state budget expenditures by an estimated $2.2 billion for the 2007-09 biennium and by approximately $8 billion in 2011-2013. Federal matching fund payments could be reduced and state bond programs will be limited.

“¢ Limits the growth in the state all funds budget which has grown by 87% over the last 10 years.
“¢ In case of emergency the legislature has the option if increasing spending though a referral to Oregon voters.
“¢ A reduction in state funding to some social service programs could reduce the amount of federal matching funds the state receives.
“¢ Oregon’s credit rating could be reduced by limiting financial flexibility, making bonds more expensive.

Ballot Measure Summary 2006 General Election provided as a public service by the Senate Republican Office.