Oregon: Tuesday Vote on Tax Issues in Measures 66 and 67

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This coming Tuesday, January 26, Oregonians will vote on two ballot initiatives, Measure 66 and Measure 67, that will decide the fate of major tax legislation initially approved in June of last year.  

A “yes” vote will affirm the decision by legislators and Governor Ted Kulongoski to take a balanced approach to addressing the state’s gaping budget deficit. This approach will increase the taxes paid by the very wealthiest Oregonians and by the state’s largest and most profitable businesses.

As the Oregon Center for Public Policy documents, if voters fail to pass Measures 66 and 67, even deeper cuts to vital services like education and health care will have to be made.  In the words of one news account, “shuttered prisons, eliminated programs for the sick and needy, increased tuition and fewer instructors on crowded university campuses” would be just some of the ramifications if Measures 66 and 67 go down to defeat.

While passage of Measures 66 and 67 would help forestall further spending reductions and make Oregon’s tax system less regressive, it is also important to keep in mind what passage would not do.  As Joe Cortright, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and president of Impresa, a Portland, Oregon-based economic consulting firm explains, passage of Measures 66 and 67 would not have the “job killing” impact that some opponents have disingenuously claimed. Rather, he concludes that “Given [Oregon’s] current economic straits, cutting public services would be far worse for the economy than these modest tax changes. Oregonians who are concerned about jobs should vote yes on Measures 66 and 67.”

For more on Measures 66 and 67, visit the Oregon Center for Public Policy as well as the Vote Yes for Oregon Coalition and Tax Fairness Oregon.

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