Variety of opinions on passage of measures

Jackson County voters said “no” to the ballot measures with the following results.
Registered Voters – Total  116,035
Ballots Cast – Total.  71,248
Voter Turnout – Total  61.40
Measure 66 Raises Tax on Household Income at & above $250,000
Yes  33,611   47.41%
No.  37,288   52.59 %
Total  66,925
Measure 67 Raises $10 Corporate Minimum Tax to $150
Yes  32,986   46.53%
No.  37,910   52.59%
Total  70,896

Gov. Kulongoski thanked Oregon voters for supporting two ballot measures in the special election that will help provide short-term protections for education, health care and other critical services for Oregonians. The Governor also called for leaders in the business community and labor community to come together to address the important issues that still face the state during this slow economic recovery.

“The election is over. Today is a new day and we must make a commitment to put our differences aside and work together to make the best choices we can for Oregon’s collective future,” said the governor.

The Governor went on to point out that the measures passed by voters are a short-term fix for the state’s current budget shortfall, but that there still needs to be a long term solution for the fiscal instability the state experiences during recessions.

“Simply put, it’s time to say “enough” to budgeting from crisis to crisis – “enough” to additional tax increases – and “enough” to a lack of stability in our budgeting process,” said Governor Kulongoski. “To stop this roller coaster budgeting, we must require the state to save more good times so our children’s education is protected and we are not asking Oregonians to pay more in taxes in bad times.”

The governor described his proposal to build an emergency reserve fund for the state that would be funded through a portion of the kickers. The components of the proposal would include:
•Establish an Emergency Reserve Fund in the Constitution.
•Direct a specified amount of the kicker to the Fund – One example is to put half of the kickers into the fund and send the other half back to taxpayers.
•Continue to return kicker refunds to taxpayers when the Emergency Reserve Fund reaches a sufficient amount – For example, a target could be 10% of the previous biennium’s General Fund budget.
•Set strict rules for when the Fund can be used – “only in emergencies”.
•Make the fund an interest bearing account, so that we get added value for our savings.
•Ensure that the ERF can never be depleted in a single budget period.

The governor  called for everyone to come together after this difficult campaign to work together to create opportunity for citizens and businesses.

Others speak out on the election
Repr. Dennis Richardson
“With the passing of Measures 66 & 67, Oregon has increased its spending by 37% ($15 billion) since 2005,” said Repr. Dennis Richardson. “ Such unsustainable increases in state spending confirm the reality that there is no limit to the good intentions that government officials can have….. with other people’s money.”

“Now, Oregon has the distinction of being #1, with the highest personal income tax rate in the nation. Such a distinction will not help create the new jobs so desperately needed for Oregon’s economic recovery. With these new tax and fee increases, Oregon is burning the roof to heat the house,” noted Richardson.

Senator Doug Whitsett
“The “state of Portland” and the buying power of the public employees’ unions have once again dictated the outcome of a statewide election,” said Senator Doug Whitsett.“Although we have no choice but to live with it, we believe that the results will prolong the current economic recession by costing tens of thousands of private sector jobs throughout the next decade. Oregon businesses will be forced to both pay retroactive taxes for 2009 as well as taxes withheld for the 2010 tax year. This year of double taxation will at best cost many jobs, and at worst will lead to business insolvencies and closures.”

Whitsett continued, “We are also concerned that the election outcome will further embolden the tax and spend mentality that has been largely responsible for the current economic morass. We are told by Governor Kulongoski that we need to get over it and move on “to make the best choices we can for Oregon’s collective future”. In my opinion bleeding the Oregon business community to death through oppresive taxation is not the pathway to a prosperous future.”

“Measure 67 passed statewide with a margin of 74,000 votes. Measure 66 passed statewide with a margin of 85,000 votes. 71 percent of those who voted in Multnomah County voted for both measures resulting in winning margins for each of 85,000 votes. The statewide election was called within minutes of when those Multnomah County results were made public.
All five counties in our Senate district 28 defeated both measures,” said the senator.

Distr 9 Supterintendent Cynda Rickert
In a letter to the District 9 staff on Jan. 27, Superintendent Cynda Rickert said, “…let me share that it is very good news for our District that the voters of Oregon have approved both Measures 66 and 67. This vote means we should be able to protect current programs for the remainder of the school year.”

Rickert went on to say, “However event with the passage of 66 and 67, our district. Like many others, still faces a budget challenge for the upcoming school year.” She said they estimate the will be about $900,000 short of what they need to main current staffing levels, classes and school days.

Tax Foundation in Washington, D.C. Tax Foundation Director of State Projects Joseph Henchman provided the following statement:

“Voters decided that two tax increases passed by the legislature last summer will stand. The success of Proposal 66 means the top income earners in the state will pay a rate of 11 percent (tied for highest state rate in the nation with Hawaii) on incomes over $250,000 a year. Proposal 67 added new bracket and top rate for corporations earning over $250,000 a year.”

“Long-time U.S. Senator Russell Long famously said that for many people, tax reform means, ‘Don’t tax you, don’t tax me. Tax that fellow behind the tree.’ That’s the best way to sum up the results from yesterday’s tax referendum in Oregon. It’s not evidence of people willing to ‘tax themselves.’

“The referendum process in Oregon has been used previously to block tax increases that would affect a majority of the population directly. So the legislature came back with taxes directly targeting a smaller minority population. In this case, the top income tax rate will only hit around 2 percent of income earners in the state.

“Had voters rejected the tax increases, Oregon would have regained its place among the top 10 states with the most ‘business-friendly’ tax systems in the Tax Foundation’s annual State Business Tax Climate Index. Oregon had consistently ranked among the 10 best states for tax climate, but for the first time ever fell out of the top 10 in the 2010 Index largely due to the tax increases.”

The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that has monitored fiscal policy at the federal, state and local levels since 1937.


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