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We lost a conservative stalwart last week when Don McIntire was found dead of a heart attack at age 74. Don still had a lot of good work left in him, and his passing comes too soon. In fact, he was in the process of working on a ballot initiative much like the Wisconsin and Indiana laws that would make it illegal to involuntarily withhold public union dues from the paychecks of public employees in Oregon.
Many of us were fortunate to call Don our friend, our brother in arms, and our inspiration. He led the life of a bon vivant, a pioneer, a happy warrior for the cause of freedom and liberty for all. Those who were fortunate enough to encounter Don in person remember him fondly as a leader who blazed trails in Oregon that had never been trodden, and a man who loved every moment of it. The political world can quickly cause participants to become jaded and bitter, but not Don. He was gracious with his time, kind with his encouragement, and always ready to join the battle anew, always with a smile on his face. He was a role model not simply for the battles he waged – and usually won – but also for always maintaining his grace and his dignity in the process. He will be truly missed.
Don was a personal hero and inspiration of mine. His impact stretches back decades, and is still being felt today. Don was the author of Measure 5, a ballot initiative that was passed by the voters in 1990. Measure 5 limited property tax increases in the state of Oregon to a maximum of 3% per year. It STILL drives the Left INSANE in this state. They blame him for the crumbling of our school buildings, the increase in class sizes, the “hole” in the state budget, but they can’t quite bring themselves to overturn the measure or raise income taxes to compensate for it.
Click here for proof that Oregon Statists will find revenue wherever they can, tax limits or not.
Meanwhile, spending in our public schools goes up and up and up, and everything continues to get worse. As you can see, spending has skyrocketed, while enrollment has gone DOWN. But yeah, let’s blame Measure 5.
Hint: Measure 5 was not responsible for the rotten spending habits of our legislators in Salem, who are required by the State Constitution to fund schools FIRST, and everything else later.
Of course, Measure 5 was estimated to have saved property owners $5 BILLION just within its first 12 years.That was reported in 2003. One can only imagine what that figure is almost 10 years later.
Measure 5 was Don’s most prominent legacy, but it is, perhaps, not his most enduring. At his passing, he was still the President of the Taxpayers Association of Oregon. As I mentioned, his work continued nonstop over the decades. Don authored several more initiatives that protected property rights for individuals stuck in Oregon’s jacked up land use laws; he supported dozens of Conservative candidates over the years, including many endorsed by FreedomWorks; he continued to run the Executive Club, a social group that meets every month to commune over the fight for liberty in Oregon – a state that is not exactly friendly to such efforts. He usually had a speaker of some note, and allowed updates from local liberty groups. He always introduced himself in his unique, self-deprecating manner as the Interim President for Life. The meeting was worthy enough, but the real action was in the Cigar Room after the meeting adjourned. That’s where the social norms were abandoned and the real political stories happened.
What I will always treasure about Don is his willingness to help, his rakish grin while taking on the Statists, his war stories in the Cigar Room … and his grace in waging battle. He was known to be courteous and personable to his political foes, indefatigable in supporting his friends. He was the ultimate example of how to press on with a smile on his face and fire in his heart. A staunch defender of freedom, because he loved his fellow man and detested anything that limited personal liberty.
I will miss my friend terribly. Conservatives in Oregon are called to carry on his legacy in every way we can.