Put alongside some of this year’s candidates, the plethora of ballot measures may look intimidatingly boring to go through, and worse yet, we suspect the buzz around these measures is somehow being manipulated by awesome marketing people, sooo… we went ahead and just read through them so you might not have to, forming a few opinions along the way. If you agree with our decisions, great… and if not, no biggie!
Yes on 94. Age discrimination sucks, and a state constitution mandating judges be booted come age 75 is exactly that. Accumulated knowledge and wisdom can be a good thing, and a look around any Corvallis gym will tell you this demographic is healthier than ever. And yeah, centenarians will soon become the norm, so there’s that.
Yes on 95. Our state universities are no different than any other investor; they need diversified portfolios, which means having some funds in equities. This measure would permit these institutions to do that. This one is common sense.
Reluctant Yes on 96. Aimed at closing gaps in services for Oregon veterans—two thirds of whom are not getting what they’re entitled to—waiting times for benefits can exceed three years. That said, this call for a 1.5% share of state lottery funds comes as an amendment to the Oregon Constitution, so a permanent solution to a problem Feds are currently working on. First biennium share would be about $9.3 million. So, why are we militating to yes? The situation is dire, and the Feds can be unpredictable.
Iffy No on 97. Oregon absolutely needs the funding stability a sales or value-added tax would provide. Our state’s revenues primarily come from income taxes, which is all kinds of unstable. However, this measure would appear to be the nuclear option, and the fallout for lower income earners and low margin corporations is horrendously toxic. That said, if you can stomach that, the political realities of the state being what they are, it may be a long time before a more nuanced measure comes along, if at all. Oregon has ridiculously little in its coffers some years. In other words, we’re voting no, but wouldn’t fault anyone voting the other way.
No on 98. Looking to spend $147 million on career and tech education in high schools sounds pretty freaking awesome to us—but basing your funding on byzantine economic assumptions that would only make sense to a contortionist? Not so much. Rewrite and retry next time. We wish we could support this.
Yes on 99. We’re going to admit being, shall we say, irked with the Gazette-Times for coming out against this funding mechanism for Outdoor School. It is an opportunity every Oregon child should have, regardless of their parents’ or school district’s finances. This is not just a fun camp; learning a love for wilderness is salve one can go to for a lifetime regardless of personal resources.
Yep, we’re in the tank for Outdoor School. Opponents argue the measure would result in an expenditure shift of $22 million annually away from the Department of Administrative Services Economic Development Fund, which is 27% of their budget, and that they’ve created or retained 8,800 jobs statewide. Following that math, we’re spending over $9,000 per job created or retained, which sounds like it should be a whole news story on its own. Suffice it to say, we believe the funds are more meaningfully spent on Outdoor School for Oregon’s children.
Yes on 100. Prohibits the purchase and sale of certain wildlife species, read as threatened species often poached. Traffickers seeking to fill Asian demand for folk cures see Oregon as an attractive Pacific Rim source. Both Washington and California have passed similar laws in the last two years.
Yes on 2-100. Ranked-choice voting has become increasingly enacted in communities around the country, and it does seem to make the electoral process both fairer and more civil. Benton County could be first in the state to implement this system for its county commissioner positions. Locally, support for this measure spans all parties and ideologies.
Yes on 2-95. This universal medical care measure is non-binding, an advisory vote only. We usually find ourselves unsupportive of anything purely advisory or resolution-like, but what the hay, the current system is so sick, we’re desperate.
Iffy No on 2-96. Local sales tax on recreational marijuana may sound okay, though some would object for arguably good reasons, but we’re having a problem imagining how a sales tax is enforceable when the Feds won’t even let these folks have a bank account. We would have liked this measure to have come with some specifics about security for all that cash.
Yes on 2-99. Annexation of an already developed site needing city sewer services, read as a whole neighborhood’s septic system failed. This annexation would be consistent with what the city would have planned anyhow.
509J School District
Yes on 2-104. Would continue our current public school tax levy at the current rate for another five years. Look, everyone knows we view their sex ed program as dated and flawed, their press relations damnably slow, and seriously, iPads are more expensive than other tablets. But, on the whole, this one is easy: kids, apple pie, and a school district that has largely demonstrated itself an admirably good steward of public funds.
Finally, we would love to endorse some candidates, but our publisher says we don’t do that sort of thing, so we’re working on him for next time around.