Sizemore initiative just 500 signatures shy – so far

A Bill Sizemore initiative that would make federal income taxes fully deductible on Oregon tax returns came up just short of qualifying for the November 2008 ballot Thursday.

Election officials said Initiative Petition 3 came up just 500 valid signatures shy of making the ballot. Petitioners turned in just under 130,000 signatures in June and July, and a sampling found that 82,264 of those were valid. The initiative needs 82,769 valid signatures to qualify for the 2008 election.

Still, the initiative has plenty of time to become part of what is expected to be a sizeable list of ballot measures that Oregon voters will consider next year. Petitioners have until July 3, 2008, to turn in signatures, and organizers have already turned in large numbers of signature sheets for four other initiatives.

The 2008 ballot is likely to include the most ballot measures since 2000, when voters considered a record 26 measures, including 18 initiatives. The initiatives that year included Sizemore’s federal income tax deductability proposal, which voters rejected by more than 150,000 votes.

In addition to Sizemore, chief petitioners on this year’s proposal are Timothy Trickey of Clackamas, owner of the Democracy Direct company that has overseen signature-gathering on this and many other initiatives this year, and Russ Walker of Keizer, who is Oregon director of the FreedomWorks anti-tax group and vice chairman of the Oregon Republican Party’s central committee.

And more initiatives are coming from the same petitioners. Of 27 proposals approved to gather signatures in hopes of making the 2008 ballot, Sizemore, Trickey and Walker are chief petitioners on 14 of them.