Bend Bulletin scolds Measure 50

The Bend Bulletin Editorial Board is getting a statewide reputation for being the toughest editorial board in the state, willing to pound out tough questions to both sides of an issue.
This is good, because a lot of really bad politically correct legislation can’t defend themselves against thorough interrogation. This week teh Bend Bulletin provided a bold exposing of Measure 50. Usually we provide the highlights, but the whole darn thing is priceless.

Numbering ballot measures is a convenient, if unimaginative, way to keep track of them. But the more we learn about Measure 50, the more we wonder whether a more descriptive labeling method might be warranted. Like, say, punctuation marks. Given how uncertain the measure’s effects will be, for instance, we wonder whether it really should be called “Measure ?”

A couple of the more obvious questions have received extensive coverage already. Is it fair to tax a politically vulnerable population (smokers) to pay for unrelated programs (health care for poor and middle-class kids)? Assuming voters approve the tax, will it provide a sustainable funding source for these programs?

The answer to these questions, at least, is fairly clear: no. But even if Measure 50 were fair and sustainable, it would be dogged by another serious question: Will the federal government allow Oregon to do everything that Measure 50 proposes? Don’t bet on it.

The measure, for instance, would subsidize health care for Oregon families making up to 300 percent of the federal poverty level, or $62,000 for a family of four. Such generosity to middle-class families would require a waiver from the federal government. Not only has the state obtained no such waiver, but new federal rules suggest it won’t happen. According to The Associated Press, Uncle Sam now requires a nearly impossible standard for states that want to expand health care for kids in families making more than 250 percent of the federal poverty level. States must first enroll at least 95 percent of kids in families earning less than 200 percent of the poverty level.

Whether Measure 50 passes or fails, the willingness of lawmakers to serve up something so flawed will cost them a substantial share of their moral authority. No longer will those who support Measure 50 feel quite so free to blast citizen petitioners for targeting vulnerable minorities, for mischaracterizing their work, for amending the constitution unnecessarily, and for inviting unintended consequences. Unless they’re OK with hypocrisy, that is.

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  • RinoWatch

    “The argument against Measure 50 begins and ends with the fact that it does not belong in the Oregon Constitution!”

    The BB buttresses what RW has been saying for many-many months.

    Thank you!

  • John Fairplay

    I wonder if there’s anyone that doesn’t realize yet that the Legislature and the Governor knew very well that the federal government would not provide the waivers needed to run Healthy Kids the way its advertised? Well, guess what? If the federal waivers are not granted _they collect the taxes anyway and spend the money on whatever they want!_

    Virtually the same scenario played out with John Kitzhaber’s Oregon Health Plan. Remember how he sold the Legislature the OHP by saying it would have no dedicated funding source and would compete with other General Fund programs for funding? He also said that if there was insufficient money, they’d decrease the number of health care procedures recipients would be eligible for. Well, guess what? The feds said “You can’t do that” and the OHP now has a dedicated revenue source, does not compete with other General Fund programs *and* the “line” on what procedures are available has never been moved to decrease services!

    OK – we got completely fooled on that one, but Oregon voters usually are pretty smart and recognize a pig in a poke when they see one. We’ll see if that record continues this fall.


    I like the first sentence of this article, it so refreshing after having to stomach that rag of a paper Oregonian for so long!

  • Rob Kremer

    The BB is indeed the toughest editorial board in the state. Good for them to see through the BS that is Measure 50.

    I remember my interview with them when I ran for Sup’t. I walked out of there thinking “Wow! They hate me!” They came on very strong, openly challenged everything I said, were very adversarial, and in general raked me over the coals.

    It was stark contrast that to all the nicey nice that the other papers played, where they acted as all on board, impressed, and reasonable.

    Then the BB writes a glowing endorsement, and virtually every other paper basically took the establishment line.

    Nice to see they are still skeptical of the status quo here in Oregon. Really too bad that they are the only one.

  • DMF

    It is unfortunate the Bulletin is the only one that tells it like it is. Measure 50 has nothing to do with health care, it’s a ploy to change our constitution to take away our rights and punish a politically incorrect segment of our society, smokers.

    I’m ashamed of Oregon. When asked I definitely tell them like it is and I’m not from here.

  • dartagnan

    The Bulletin idiotorial board is a collection of radical right-wing troglodytes. I think they’re all bucking for jobs on the Wall Street Journal idiotorial page.

    • Anonymous

      Careful you can choke on your sour apples. Just make sure you aren’t a left wing troglodyte. You know you could find yourself straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel.

    • Katrina

      No, the Bulletin editorial board is definitely NOT comprised of right-wing trogs. From close observation of the last 10-plus years, I have found that they are left of center; and just happen to have gotten it right on Measure 50.

  • newguy

    Being new to this state, this “special” election is quite special to me.
    After weighing the pros and cons on M50, the debate should be crystal clear. Any organization behind this is waiting for a political check to be cut. Especially when the White House said months ago that they would veto this bill. Since when do poor kids get what they need to become better citizens?

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