HB 2544: The voter punishment act of 2011?

The voter punishment act of 2011?
By Taxpayer Association of Oregon,

The Taxpayer Association is sorting through a flood of new bills in the Oregon 2011 Legislature and some are alarming like HB 2544.   With no official lawmaker sponsor or detailed explanatory statement  it is hard to decidedly interpret these bills.  Our first estimate of  HB 2544 is that if voters pass a ballot measure that costs money it then triggers an automatic payroll surtax on people’s income taxes  to cover the cost.   In other words, if a voter approved ballot measure requires an increase in General Fund spending, taxes can be raised to cover whatever amounts the Legislature decides to appropriate to cover the new law.  HB 2544 summary statement: “Requires imposition of surtax on personal income and corporate income and excise taxpayers if implementation of one or more initiatives approved by voters requires appropriation that equals or exceeds certain percentage of combined total of General Fund revenues and un-obligated net lottery proceeds for biennium.”

We hope our interpretation is not the case because the first look on the bill makes it seem like the height of lawmaker arrogance and voter revenge.   It sounds like lawmakers are telling voters they are not constitutionally bound to balance the budget with priorities, cuts and cost savings as long as an idea comes from voters.

Read HB 2544 for yourself and give us your feedback and interpretation.