Regarding Oregon’s Measure 97, The New York Times says: “Measure 97 would create the biggest tide of new tax revenue in any state in the nation this year as a percentage of the budget.” and is “one of the biggest anywhere in recent history.”
At stake, as an amendment to ORS 317.90, Measure 97 would add an estimated $3 billion annually to the state’s general fund — dollars earmarked for education, health care and senior services.
The money source would be corporations both in and outside the state that report more than $25 million in annual revenue earned within Oregon.
To date, about $18 million has been raise to defeat the measure, with about $8 million raised in support.
The measure’s complexity goes well beyond the stereotypical norm of big business versus small business. The Oregon Voter’s Pamphlet offers minimal assistance — 33 pages of paid opinions, well more than any other measure, are dedicated to Measure 97. Even the supposedly independent Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review Council in the pamphlet is split by a vote of 11-9 in narrowly backing the measure.
Some argue the measure is poorly written because state government is given no guidelines on how to spend all that new money. That’s fair, but for democracy to work, we the people have to speak out loud and clear and assist governance. If not, $3 billion and even more won’t be enough to stop the bleeding.
I say vote “yes,” become active and help reverse the current trend away from democracy.