For the Unless Oregonians experience a large change of heart, polls indicate that Measure 30 will fall to defeat today, following close on the heels of the recent defeat of its tax-increase predecessor, Measure 28.
But in reality, while the measure itself is of the utmost importance to Oregonians who would be adversely affected by cuts, the most important issue is not "to tax or not to tax," but instead: Should we as voters have the direct ability to reverse legislative decisions?
Measure 30 is on the ballot as a citizen referendum in response to House Bill 2152; the Legislature came to a compromise after weeks of special sessions last year and passed HB 2152, an $800 million temporary income tax surcharge.
By gathering signatures from 5 percent of the people who voted in the 2002 gubernatorial race, Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy was able to place the tax increase on the ballot, in effect asking, "Do we agree with what our representatives have done?"
But a system that allows us to challenge every action of our legislators is fundamentally flawed.
We have the ability to ask the aforementioned question at each election, but we should not be able to act whenever we feel that our elected officials aren't saying what we want them to say.
Oregon should not, in fact, have a referendum system that allows citizens to bring to a direct vote the legislative decisions of the Oregon Legislature. That is not the role of the electorate in our representative system.