League of Women Voters Positions on Oregon Ballot Measures
The League of Women Voters of Oregon has announced its positions on ballot measures that are on the November, 2016 ballot:
Ballot Measure 94: Support – The Oregon Elimination of Mandatory Judicial Retirement AgeAmendment, would eliminate the requirement that judges retire at the age of 70. It would also authorize or require the retirement or of judges with a physical or mental disability or any other cause rendering judges incapable of performing their judicial duties. Action felt that the forced retirement age was age discrimination, against League positions.
Ballot Measure 95: Support – The Oregon Public University Diversification of InvestmentsAmendment would amend Section 6 of Article XI of the Oregon Constitution to allow public state universities to invest in equities. This would allow universities to allow growth through investments other than patents. University Boards will have public meetings, so they meet our positions on being transparent, accountable.
Ballot Measure 96: Neutral – Amends Constitution, dedicates lottery funding for veterans’ support services. Because this is another carve-out of the lottery funds, and because it amends the constitution, the League has concerns. But, these monies are likely needed for veteran’s services.
Ballot Measure 97: Support – increases certain corporate taxes by establishing a 2.5 percent tax on corporate gross sales that exceed $25 million. Specifically, it would establish a minimum tax of $30,000 plus 2.5 percent of gross sales that exceed $25 million. LWVOR’s position that says, “A tax system that recognizes the individual’s responsibility for government services by providing for broad sharing of the tax burden.” Oregon has faced a consistent revenue shortage for the past 25 years. While Oregon’s economy has grown, voters have placed limits on the state’s ability to impose new taxes, which has caused inadequate funding of schools and public services. In addition, Oregon faces a budget shortfall of $1.35 billion in the upcoming budget period. That is a substantial gap, amounting to about 6 percent of the state budget. According to Oregon’s Legislative Revenue Office, the measure would raise more than $6 billion each budget biennium. This measure effectively replaces losses from Measure 5. Although this measure is somewhat regressive, since it is a statute, the legislature can always correct it later without the 3/5ths vote required from both houses for a tax increase.
We cannot ignore the needs for K-12 schools, human services, the elderly and public safety. Without this additional revenue, we will again see cuts to the services the public needs and wants.
Ballot Measure 98: Neutral – requires that the Oregon State Legislature fund dropout-prevention, career and college readiness programs in Oregon high schools. It would require that the legislature provide at least $800 per student initially and adjusted annually for inflation and population growth. LWVOR supports comprehensive K-12 funding, which is why we support M97, but if M97 does not pass, this measure will likely reduce funding for early childhood education, an area where LWVOR has increased our voice in support.
Ballot Measure 99: Neutral – creates an “Outdoor School Education Fund,” sourced from state lottery proceeds, to support outdoor school programs. The outdoor school initiative seeks to designate about $22 million in state lottery funds for outdoor education for all fifth and sixth graders in Oregon. This outdoor education involves a stay at a camp for a few nights while learning about science. This is a worthy program but we cannot afford more carve-outs of Lottery Funds. We fully expect that the Legislature would provide this funding if M97 passes.
Ballot Measure 100: Neutral -. This measure supports prohibiting the sale of products and parts of 12 types of endangered animals in Oregon: rhino, cheetah, tiger, sea turtle, lion, elephant, whale, shark, pangolin, jaguar, ray, and leopard. We have an LWVUS position on ecosystem protections and this measure would probably not cost Oregon (except ODFW is responsible for enforcing). However, we have no strong positions on this issue.