OREGON -- Measure 104 proposes a change to the Oregon Constitution that would require a three-fifths legislative majority to approve any bill that raises revenue.
Voting “yes” supports expanding the meaning of “bills for raising revenue,” which require a three-fifths legislative majority, to include fees and changes to tax exemptions, deductions and credits.
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If the measure passes, it would define the term “raising revenue” in the Oregon Constitution.
Voting “no” means the current law would stay intact. Bills for raising revenue that require the majority are limited to bills that levy or increase taxes.
The term “raising revenue” is not currently defined in the Oregon Constitution. Based on interpretations by Oregon courts, a bill that imposes a fee for a specific purpose or in exchange for some benefit or service is not included. Bills that reduce or eliminate tax exemptions are also not included in the legislative majority requirement.
Albany Area Chamber of Commerce President Janet Steele said they support the measure because it prevents legislators from creating loopholes to raise taxes that end up hurting businesses.
“We’re seeing that the Legislature is getting greedier and greedier on tax dollars, and we think it’s unfair to businesses and the citizens of Oregon to have legislators circumvent the law,” Steele said.
Steele said the three-fifths majority requirement would also create a healthy discussion in the Legislature.
However, Carol Van Houten, a member of Community Alliance Lane County, opposes the measure.
She said it’ll create an unnecessary gridlock and could prevent social programs from being funded if tax increases can’t be implemented.
“We think it would stop the government from spending money on social needs,” Van Houten said. “Money needs to go to things that help people.”
Van Houten said people should trust the government to make wise decisions with money.
The Springfield and Roseburg chambers of commerce also support the measure, along with other farming and business organizations. Nike, AARP and numerous social rights organizations oppose it.
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