February 3 – SALEM – Oregon voters on Tuesday rejected Measure 30, a compilation of $1.1 billion in new taxes, by an overwhelming margin (60 to 40 percent, at least count). The special election for Measure 30 was a referral of House Bill 2152, the comprehensive tax package passed by the legislature and signed by the governor last fall.
For the second year in a row, Oregonians have told elected officials that higher taxes are not the answer to Oregon’s ailing economy, sending the message that it is time for government to live within its means and budget in a fiscally responsible manner.
“I couldn’t be happier about the results,” stated Russ Walker, Director of Oregon Citizens for a Sound Economy and chief petitioner for Measure 30. “When we set out to put Measure 30 on the ballot five months ago, we knew that Oregonians were against these tax increases.”
“Raising taxes during a recession is simply bad economics. Oregon’s families will now be able to spend or invest that money in the best way possible for their quality of life,” said Roger King, a Medford resident and active volunteer in defeating Measure 30.
State Representative Linda Flores, who pushed for government to examine core functions and prioritize when setting budgets during the 2003 session, was also pleased about the results. “Now I hope we can truly dive into the discussion of putting our most essential services such as education, health care, and public safety, to the forefront of the budgeting process instead of holding them hostage in debates over tax increases.”
Flores continued, “There is a clear lack of distrust among the people toward the way government spends their money…with the lack of effort on the part of many in Salem to find efficiencies and make government more lean, I can’t say that I blame them.”
Measure 30 qualified for the special election concluding Tuesday through a successful signature-gathering effort last fall. Opponents to the tax increase gathered over 118,000 valid signatures, 64,000 more than the constitutional requirement of 54,420. Signatures were submitted to the Secretary of State on November 25, 2003 and Measure 30 was placed on the ballot for today’s election in December.