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Scenes from the front line of life in Portland, Oregon, USA.


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Jason Holliston
Tuesday, February 03, 2004  
Do Your Job, Say Voters

It was expected that Measure 30 here in Oregon would go down to defeat, but the margin looks to be around a 16% difference with the early count.

For those outside the state, a bit of background is required. When the recession hit Oregon, it hit hard, and caused a large drop in state revenue. Our constitution requires a balanced budget for every two years, so running a deficit isn't an option. First, the legislature referred a $310 million tax increase to the voters to help with matters, but it was turned down. Right after the defeat, visible areas of state government, such as schools (as seen in Doonesbury), state troopers, and programs for the disabled and elderly were cut. They also released a bunch of prisoners early, just in case we, the voters, didn't get the message. Some time later, the legislature went ahead an passed their own tax increase, without going to the voters. This time, it wasn't $310 million. Heck, if you're going to do it, why not go huge? No, the tax increase was over $800 million, almost three times the referred amount. So, a group of people got the tax increase on the ballet by way of voter initiative, bringing us to tonight.

The latest results has the "No" count (against the increase) at 58%, a pretty resounding defeat. Why do you think that is? Is it because the Oregon populace is unfeeling bastards, intent on saving a few bucks at the expense of the children and the elderly? No, I don't think so. Personally, if I felt that our representatives had done their job, I might have voted for an increase along the lines of the first referendum. It wasn't the money, so much (even though I do lean libertarian quite a bit), but it was the way our elected representatives used blackmail to save them from making hard, and potentially politically damaging cuts. It was the reprehensible way the went about things that sealed my vote. There were options -- there's always options. Many other states managed to pull through without adding taxes on top of a recession damaged economy. Not our legislature, though -- they tried the easy way out, and now they've been sent back to the drawing board, and forced to do their job.

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