Measure 50 Open Thread

It's 8 p.m. and the polls are closed. We're pulling together results county-by-county. More coming soon.

Measure 50, updated 12:55 p.m. Wed

YesNoYes %
  TOTAL390870  577059  40.3%
Benton141531462649.1%
Clackamas393935302042.6%
Deschutes133152473034.9%
Jackson195163555935.4%
Lane518286359144.9%
Marion270214803236%
Multnomah849236451356.8%
Washington540296164546.7%
Yamhill91231682735.1%
Clatsop5433762741.6%
Columbia4082938130.3%
Coos52371411627%
Douglas60622010723.1%
Hood River2978355145.6%
Lincoln68731007240.5%
Linn78882440024.4%
Polk87101524636.3%
Tillamook2577460735.8%
Union2027526027.8%
Baker1549527922.6%
Crook1533580220.8%
Curry2582593530.3%
Jefferson1408419125.1%
Josephine73302109325.7%
Klamath36971532619.4%
Malheur974245228.4%
Umatilla3646871229.5%
Gilliam
Grant477220017.8%
Harney495211418.9%
Lake445207317.6%
Morrow576205921.8%
Sherman16457122.3%
Wallowa826234226%
Wasco
Wheeler

Stay tuned. Discuss.

Comments

  • David (unverified)
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    FYI, best results tracker: http://www.katu2.com/election/race1.htm for 49 and http://www.katu2.com/election/race2.htm for 50.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    M49 passing, M50 failing. Not a prediction, just an update from The O.

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    Looks like it's going to be a close one. So far it's winning in Multnomah by a 10 point margin. It'll need to do better than that, but we won't know for some time because of what looks to have been a huge jump in turnout today.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    KATU: 53Y/47N, but these are old numbers -- the timestamp is updated automatically.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    Looks like the corporate drug pusher wins! Children lose. Everyone loses since we will all continue to pick up the tab for all those emergency room visits with sick children who should have been able to see a doctor sooner. But this is Oregon and Oregon voters are used to being negligent (not voting for important issues) or scammed by big corporate money.

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    Oops. For a few minutes, we had 49 results here on the 50 page.

    We're a little behind the TV numbers for the moment, but we'll catch up - and keep updating into the wee hours after they're done.

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    the Leg can, and will, do something for kids in 2008. it's up to us, the people, to force the Rs to put children before political ideology. not sure how that's done, but we need to start by shaming the likes of Minnis, Scott and their pathetic followers. of course, that assumes they have any shame, and i'm not sure of that.

    M49 was, politically, more critical. this was going to be the only chance to do anything about M37. had 49 lost, Oregon would have been in deep long-term trouble. this election proves that M37 was an aberration, that Oregonians actually favor taking care of the land rather than just chopping it into tiny profitable bits. the Leg should feel confident about fixing other aspects of M37 now.

    i hope the corporations who took tens of thousands of dollars from my mom during her lifetime, and who actively worked to kill her, are happy with the results they bought. this is the kind of thing that makes me wish there was a hell. these bastards should rot in such a place. and the idiots who once again had their vote purchased, sheesh. next time, just ask for cash and we can skip the commercials.

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    So, somehow the comments have been turned off on Measure 49. They're now turned back on.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    The voters have sent us a clear message with Measure 50's defeat.

  • Bill R. (unverified)
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    I have sat with a dying man who was coughing up pieces of his lung gasping for the next breath. His dying wish was that he could tell children not to do what he had done. He was being cared for in a nursing home, his care paid for by you and me, not Philip Morris. You're right, Philip Morris and its corporate minions and stockholder do deserve hell for the misery they have wreaked on humankind. I say that as as one recovering nicotine addict. Making them and their victims pay for children's health care is not too much at all. I hope the legislature can come up with something in Feb. I had hoped for the Feds to increase S-Chip but Bush and his Repug cronies in Congress are also beholden to Philip Morris and their stockholders. Too bad the Mormon Repugs can't prevail upon their colleagues to have a change of heart, if they only had one.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    I have to thank the smokers who told me when I was younger never to start, and thank my mother for quitting.

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    Michael Moore on "Countdown" on Measure 50.

    "As much as I hope the Oregon thing passes tonight, ultimately that's not going to be the solution either, depending on people smoking to pay taxes so that kids can get health. What is wrong with us here? Let's just get to the business at hand, which is making sure every citizen is covered, when they get sick they can see a doctor and not have to worry about it."

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    Meant to add the link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9lkKU0elZA&NR=1

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    Meant to add the link.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9lkKU0elZA&NR=1

  • Wes Robinson (unverified)
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    80.9% approval from Klamath County?

    No way...

  • Jeanne (unverified)
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    T. A., what you share about your mom is very sad, but....

    What about people who never saw the Big Tobacco commercials and other propaganda and voted against Measure 50 because it didn't make sense? Have they been bought by big corporations too? I don't watch TV. Don't read the conservative propaganda that comes in the mail. Was Measure 50 about tobacco or about kids, or about raising taxes for other reasons? I couldn't tell, and I only looked at the measure itself and the arguments of supporters.

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    Thanks, Wes. Those were backwards. It seems that Klamath is the only county that lists the NO vote on top.

  • KAckermann (unverified)
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    I hate the tobacco companies. I smoke their addicting products but I didn't cause all those children to get sick. They should have made it broad based by taxing gas. My pack of smokes weighs 3 ounces. A tank of gas weighs 200 pounds.

    I'll stop burning my 3 ounces when you stop burning your 200 pounds.

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    Wes,

    I think the % are votes counted out of total.

  • James Frye (unverified)
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    I'm very happy about the defeat of 50. I like the child's healthcare plan, but if everyone wants it everyone should pay the higher taxes for it. Stop being gutless and going after a minority to pay for kids who need healthcare.

  • Zoe Walmer (unverified)
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    I was personally against M50 because I think that a cigarette tax is the wrong way to fund health care, not because I'm opposed to universal health care or taxes.

    We need a single system to make sure everyone in Oregon has access to the health care they need, not 15 smaller individually-funded programs to pay for special segments of the population. It's a tough road to travel, but it's worth it for a healthy Oregon.

    Progressives can't take this vote as a sign that Oregon doesn't want to fund health care, that we aren't willing to pay for it, or that Big Tobacco has officially taken over our home.

    What we have to do now is make sure our representatives know that this is still important to us and that we're counting on them to make headway on the issue.

    It's not that there isn't a way to make universal health care work in Oregon, it's just that we haven't thought of it yet. I expect innovation, inenuity, and expertise our of our legislators. We've got some great folks in Salem and I believe that they can make this happen.

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    Progressives can't take this vote as a sign that Oregon doesn't want to fund health care, that we aren't willing to pay for it...

    Try as we might, that's how it's going to be perceived by Republicans and Democrats alike. If it had been 52-48 or something, there might have been a chance for another shot at it - with another tax base or something. But not 60-40.

    If the campaign couldn't convince Zoe Walmer to vote for Measure 50, then it really was a miserable campaign.

    Maybe Governor Kulongoski was right in 2004 when he said that we really have to wait for a national solution after George Bush is gone.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Kari, where in the advertising was it said that health care isn't worth funding? It was all "sacred document" this, "unsustainable" that, "potential for waste" the other. But it was never "health care is not worth funding." Polling on health care makes that clear.

  • LT (unverified)
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    But the question is:

    Did 50 fail because the tobacco companies poured in a ton of money? (I was up late last night and saw ads after midnight.)

    Did it fail because of the anti-taxers who were mentioned in those ads?

    Did it fail because there are some people so fed up with Constitutional Amendments (going back to at least when the kicker was put in the constitution if not farther) that they will only vote for statutes on the ballot, not const. amendments?

    Or all of the above?

    If it takes a court case, maybe now is the time to get a clear ruling about what it takes to put a tax measure on the ballot. Did I hear that the legislative counsel who made the ruling that the amendment could be put on the ballot by simple majority but a statute required the supermajority is no longer with the legislative counsel office?

    Clarifying the answer to that question would seem to require only hard work and political will, not another public vote.

    Also take what was learned in recent elections--incl. that no one can predict many months in advance "who does/ doesn't have a chance" or how much "seed money " they need, that idiotic "sorry your district has a lousy R to D ratio" nonsense wasn't proven true in the cases of Gilbertson, Peralta and others in 2006--and have a more open, localized process for the 2008 House races.

    And then if there are 36 like minded state reps in the 2009 session, maybe we can modify if not end the supermajority nonsense. As I saw the results on TV, it looked to me like some sort of "modify/ end the supermajority" measure in Washington was 50-50. Not exactly "everyone hates taxes and loves the supermajority requirement to restrain taxes".

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    I called M50 one of the most egregious examples of political cynicism I'd ever seen and I stand by it. I will here and now promise to do everything in my power to help pass a dedicated general tax measure to provide health care to kids in need of it. I will not now or ever engage in that kind of opportunistic propagandized crap as policy.

    The social cost argument was absolute nonsense laid next to alcohol. The tax was factually laid on the lower income strata. If the stated goal of reducing smoking was achieved a plan would exist with no support. And finally this is a straight state transfer of money from citizens to insurance companies.

    Some how I'm supposed to buy that set of facts as something a progressive should support? When you talk about making 80% of the cost of any other socially costly product tax you'll have achieved equity with cigarettes.

    Let's do something real for Oregonians and let's spread the load with some equity.

  • pg (unverified)
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    I'm glad to see that this abomination to fair taxation failed. I have not had insurance on my children for the last 10 years, because I could not afford it through my employment, they pay for me but the premium for my children was more than I could afford. If they needed to go to the doctor, I paid for it out of pocket. The problem is not taxing one group for everyone, but making the insurance company's make it affordable for everyone. I do not see how any reasonable person could say taxing tobacco (where under law you cannot be a minor) should be taxed to go to underprivileged minors. Maybe we should tax mothers milk.

  • Drug Industry Rules (unverified)
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    Measure 50 fails ...

    This vote had nothing to do with attitudes about health care. Zip. Nada. This vote had everything to do with the desperate need to open the airwaves to all sides so that the Tobacco and drug industries - which make their billions off the addiction and pain of others - don't run our government by buying the media. Which they did for the past two months, for an amount which - to them - was nothing more than a good investment of pocket change.

    So, stop all the bull-kaka palaver about what this election "means". All this election "means" is that in 2007 costs ONLY TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS (a tiny amount relative to the addiction-profits that were at risk) to buy a profitable outcome under Oregon election law. That's how the PR companies and political consultants are looking at it, I guarantee it, and those looking at it much otherwise are either fooling themselves, or trying to fool others (for a paycheck, or because they smoke).

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    As an addendum to my above post, most of my political cohorts and other friends opposed on the basis I cited and not because RJR or Phillips persuaded them. They are for the most part dedicated opponents to smoking, some with stories like TJ's.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    To all those expressing their opposition to M50, here's something you can get behind.

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    Well, there's always next year.

  • Chad (unverified)
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    I don't understand. A tobacco tax increase passed in WA by a wide margin in 2002. I was pretty sure the same would happen here.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    Kari writes: Try as we might, that's how it's going to be perceived by Republicans and Democrats alike. If it had been 52-48 or something, there might have been a chance for another shot at it - with another tax base or something. But not 60-40.

    I think you're exactly right, Kari, the defeat of M50 will be seen by a lot of people as something broader than it probably was. Merkley was already quoted on KATU.com saying that he didn't think the 2008 special session was the right place to address this, as it was "too soon."

    What I'd like to see is a little mea culpa from Merkley, Kate Brown, et al. that the gamble they took by placing this on the ballot as a constitutional amendment backfired. When Republicans wouldn't give them the votes they needed to do it as a statute, they had three choices:

    1) stand firm (or be stubborn, depending on your viewpoint) and refer it as a constitutional amendment, 2) negotiate with Republicans to scale back the program (75,000 kids covered? 50,000 kids covered?) in order to get the additional vote needed, or 3) organize a grassroots effort to put it on the ballot as a statutory initiative in 2008 (possibly with a broader tax as well).

    The Dem leadership chose option #1 and just got bitch-slapped by the voters. The all-or-nothing strategy was a gamble, and they lost. Knowing what we know now, compromising to get at least some of those kids covered would have been the better move. The real losers in this particular game of chicken are the kids who still won't have insurance next year.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    By the way, here's a bold, progressive way to get a lot of those kids covered even with M50's defeat: Just start enrolling them.

    As the tobacco companies pointed out, about 50% of the uninsured kids are ALREADY eligible for OHP, they just haven't been enrolled. That's because outreach to that population is difficult, and it hasn't been funded very well (because funding outreach means more enrollees means higher costs overall). The anti-50 ads used that as a reason to vote against M50 ("If they can't enroll people in the existing program, why create a new one?")

    Starting tomorrow, Gov. K should cite that ad and declare that he's sending his staff out to enroll them. He's going to reassign 50 DHS staffers to find and enroll those 50,000 kids, and he's going to do it because he feels a moral obligation to get every child insured that can be insured. Obviously, this will create a funding problem at DHS. But federal law requires states to enroll all eligible individuals who apply for Medicaid (OHP). The legislature in 2008 will then have to either appropriate additional funding for those kids, or cut the number of people eligible. They'll do the former.

    This isn't perfect. That money may have to come from some other government program (although with state revenues still booming it could come from the excess, meaning it will reduce any 2008 kicker). But personally, I think health care for kids is right up there with education as the absolute top priority for government, so I'm okay with sacrificing other worthy programs in order to insure those kids.

    But all of this requires a governor who really wants to lead on this issue. Given Ted's notable absence during the M50 campaign, I won't hold my breath.

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    James X wrote: Kari, where in the advertising was it said that health care isn't worth funding?

    Excellent point, James. Maybe I'm just feeling a bit despondent about all this.

    I do like your idea, though. The Republicans say they want a tobacco tax done by statute and dedicated to smoking cessation - fine, you got it. The Republicans say they want health care for kids funded out of general funds - fine, you got it.

    Dollars to donuts they won't vote for 'em though. Hypocritical assholes.

  • Zoe Walmer (unverified)
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    Try as we might, that's how it's going to be perceived by Republicans and Democrats alike. If it had been 52-48 or something, there might have been a chance for another shot at it - with another tax base or something. But not 60-40.

    Kari's right that the numbers on this vote are going to convince no one that Oregonians want to fund health care. That's why it's time for us, as Progressives, to get moving on convincing both the people and the powers that be that it is. I know there are a lot of people out there who voted No on this for reasons other than a distaste for state sponsored health care and their voices need to be heard.

    It's tough to get up after taking a hit, but if we want lasting change we've got about 24 hours to wallow before we get moving again. Since when was establishing Universal Health Care easy?

  • JTT (unverified)
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    First, please stop bloviating about how a cigarette tax is regressive...blah, blah...fair tax...blah, blah. It's crap and you know it. Cigarettes should be taxed at least $3.50/pack (indexed to inflation) to compensate the state and tax-payers for the uncompensated health care costs that smokers inflict on society...not to even mention the effects of secondhand smoke. If you want that cig tax money dedicated to smoking cessation programs, fine. But that tax should be raised through the roof. Cigarettes aren’t a product made for poor people, the tobacco companies just market them to the poor (and young, and ethnic minorities, and gays, etc.). I don't think it's fair for the state (i.e. taxpayers) to pick up the extra health care bills for smokers. If you want to smoke...that's fine, just pay for it (and the related health care costs) yourself.

    Second, my personal f**k you to RJ Reynolds, Mark Nelson and crew was not just a Yes on M50 vote...but I quit. That's right...after almost 8 years of smoking I decided that I didn't want to contribute a dime more of my money to those lying, right-wing, sacks of shit (who also funnel money to Grover Norquist's misnamed "Americans for Tax Reform") and of course I wanted to be healthier :). So if Oregon children aren't going to get my tax money for health care...then the tobacco companies sure ain't gettin' it either. If you're a BO-reader and you smoke...please quit. Join me in sticking it to RJ Reynolds and Phillip Morris. Let's tell them that we'll be keeping the next $12 million, thank you very much. And if you're a real goodie-two-shoes, then join me in donating what you would spend on cigarettes. I think I might make my donation to Doernbecher’s Children’s Hospital for added fulfillment and irony. Quitting has made me feel healthier, wealthier, and just a little happier every day, all thanks to (ironically) Phillip Morris and RJ Reynolds. Thanks for playing your “defend the Constitution” fiddle out here in Oregon…just don’t mind the door as it hits you on the way back to N. Carolina/Virginia.

    my 2 cents.

  • CJ (unverified)
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    I'm with you JTT.

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    Good for you JTT.

    Agree with Kari on liking James X's approach.

    Could the intersession leg refer a constitutional ballot measure to eliminate the supermajority requirement to refer a tax measure to the voters? That really is an appropriate constitutional issue. And as matters stand, the law says that not allowing people to vote on taxing themselves if they wish is more sacred than the sacred constitution.

  • James X. (unverified)
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    Hey, congratulations JTT! (And CJ, too?)

  • Jeanne (unverified)
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    Here's a question someone here may be able to help me with. Background: According to the DHS, about 20% of Oregon adults smoke. Overall, one in six Oregonians have no health coverage, according to a DAS Executive Summary from last year. (This report also mentions the 50,000 who are eligible for subsidized health coverage but have not been enrolled). Is there credible data regarding percentages of smokers with and without health coverage? Does it deviate from the overall population norm? A number of people have posited that smokers are on average from lower income brackets, which has led me to wonder about whether they might have lower access to health insurance themselves.

    Part of my "no" vote was because of this issue. Somehow, my Googling never turned up the answer, but I was (and still am) concerned about taxing one potentially underinsured group to benefit another. Tax us all, I say!

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    My hope is that since the people have spoken and have voted NO on this, we don't see it again for a few years. If we do see it (or any other tax like it) in the next election, it only shows how we tend to abuse the referendum/initiative system. When we say NO, we mean it.

    We have said NO on this. We should not have to vote on it again. Please listen to the people for once and give us something else to consider.

  • (Show?)
    Posted by: Bill R. | Nov 6, 2007 8:33:01 PM Looks like the corporate drug pusher wins! Children lose. Everyone loses since we will all continue to pick up the tab for all those emergency room visits with sick children who should have been able to see a doctor sooner.

    This, for me, is the crux of the issue. Bill and others like him don't want to have to actually pay anything towards funding healthcare for poor kids. That M50 relied upon a patently regressive funding scheme apparently didn't bother many alleged progressives as long as they didn't have to foot the bill.

    I've listened to progressives complain loudly over many years about conservative's regressive tax schemes. For the longest time I actually believed that progressives didn't like regressive taxation on principle. Now I know better.

    Reason 38130 why I'm not a Democrat or a Republican.

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    JamesX,

    Since I'm neither a Republican nor a Democrat I'm obviously not part of your target audience. If, however, you should desire the support of NAVs (about 25% of Oregon) I would happily give it. You suggestion is definitely one that I could get behind.

  • Buckman Res (unverified)
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    Bad on all levels from the misleading ballot title to the fact that it was unsustainable and written into the Oregon Constitution, this train wreck of a measure deserved the thumping it got. Voters correctly rejected this poorly crafted, unfair tax.

    Sometimes the voters get it right.

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    Jeane,

    I don't believe that any studies or statistics isolate the socio-economic breakdown of smokers exactly as you've asked it. But I do believe that the info can be teased out, in a general way, from existing stats.

    Try this as a launch point to stats which I believe to be relevant.

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    Eric, could you specify which features of the tax you'd like not to see repeated, i.e. what "like this" means? Any tax at all for kids' health insurance? Any tax at all on tobacco? Taxes on part of the population (smokers, or drinkers or transfat-selling fast food joints?) to pay for a benefit to a different section of the population? Taxes in the constitution.

    Is there any form of tax to raise needed new revenue to provide health insurance for the maximum possible proportion of uninsured kids that you would consider seriously? A good approach in principle?

    Would you support a cigarette tax that dedicated its revenues and purpose to smoking prevention, cessation and reduction -- i.e. reinforce the deterrent economic effect of the tax itself and have the purpose to put itself out of business?

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    It's the issue itself and the attempt to gut the constituion.

    We have said NO. End of story. All bets are off. Issue resolved and dead. The people have made their decision and it has to be respected as such. Any re-occurrance of such in any short time period in any shape or form is insulting and disrespectful of the voters decision and is abusive of the system.

    NO means NO - What part of NO do you not understand? The N or the O?

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    Jeanne,

    Listen to Kevin about information sources. I don't always agree with his analyses but he has demonstrated a ton of work and thinking about distributions of income, smoking and tax burden that always deserve respectful consideration in my view.

    My more general take as a current public health grad student and a former historian of social inequality influenced by the social sciences would be something like this.

    Smoking prevalence in general is inversely related to income (though modified by other factors like age, ethnicity, sex though less than before), i.e. if lower income people are more likely to smoke. I have a theory that I am pulling out of my thumb that if you could design the research, you'd find associations of higher smoking with certain occupations or job categories, and with specific workplaces and not others, especially among non-managerial workers. This comes from anecdotal observation that in many places smoking remains a social act for workers, in which both the nictotine effects and the social interaction serve as relief valves for work pressures.

    Lack of insurance likewise is strongly associated with low wages and/or poverty. Sort of like the "Medicare doughnut" on drug coverage, "working poor" and lower middle class employed people often work for businesses that don't offer insurance benefits, or don't contribute to the costs, or only contribute to employee but not family coverage. Many of these people would not be eligible for OHP.

    Smokers also in general will have to pay higher premiums for health insurance if they do have access. It is not clear to me if the difference is high enough to put insurance costs out of reach for many smokers, though for a guess I'd suppose the effect would be small (more thumb-sucking by me, though).

    Taken together, it seems likely both that smokers are disporportionately uninsured and that the uninsured smoke disproportionately. An inflection of this is that children of smokers who do not yet smoke, and whose parents can't/don't provide them insurance particularly face the risks of second-hand smoke.

    This is inferential, but I can't think of any plausible reason why low income people who smoke would be more highly insured and low income people who don't smoke would be less insured.

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    Eric, I understand no just fine. I have no interest in proposing the same law again. If that's all you mean, no problem.

    What I don't understand is what "issue" you see as dead.

    Really, the No campaign identified a number of reasons to vote no, i.e. several issues, and no on one doesn't inherently mean no on others.

    To me, the issue of a new tax to fund health insurance for kids is not dead, though an issue of a tobacco tax for that purpose is. Is that something you say I shouldn't work on?

    To me, the issue of a tobacco tax dedicated to preventing smoking and encouraging and helping people quit is not dead. What do you think?

    To me, the vote pretty strongly repudiates using constitutional amendment as a route to refer taxes to voters & I would not support it as a strategy to renewed efforts for kids' insurance or smoking prevention & cessation.

    A simple response to those questions would help me. Thanks.

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    Hmm...people voted yes means yes on M37 too..they seemed to have wised up nicely on that one.

    I agree with Miles about the governor needing to get out ahead on getting all those eligible enrolled. I think a more assertive presence by him during this campaign might have helped.

    I'm a bit concerned about Merkley's "it's too soon" though. Are the uninsured going to agree with that?

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Dead Issue: Any tax amendment to the constitution. Your first point that you mention is what I was getting at. I remember what the OCA did with their repeated attempts against gays in the early 90's when they kept putting stuff on the ballot even though we kept saying NO. I am hoping that doesn't repeat itself with trying to put taxes in the constituion.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    The tax was factually laid on the lower income strata.

    You can keep repeating this tobacco company lie, it doesn't make it true. Where is the study that shows low income smokers would pay one dime more for tobacco than they are now? The answer is there aren't any. The reality is that people really only smoke as much as they can afford and the tax would have had to be eaten by the tobacco companies. But its not surprising you believe the tobacco industry's lies, the were carefully tested for believability before they were told.

    As for the likely outcome, I doubt you are going to see children's health care funded by some other source. Kids don't have an advertising budget and can't afford focus groups.

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    The reality is that (low income) people really only smoke as much as they can afford...

    If that were true then it would stand to reason that low income people would really only purchase as much as they can afford in other areas too. That's not what we see, though. Case in point would be payday lenders. Low income Oregonians lined up to purchase credit that they simply could not afford.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    If that were true then it would stand to reason that low income people would really only purchase as much as they can afford in other areas too.Case in point would be payday lenders. Low income Oregonians lined up to purchase credit that they simply could not afford.

    That has absolutely nothing to do with whether the money was going to come out of the tobacco industry profits or "low income smokers". The campaign's over. Do you think that kind of red herring argument is going to change the reality that every person who voted against Measure 50 voted to deny kids health care in order to protect the financial health of the tobacco industry. You can claim you were protecting "low income smokers" at the expense of kids, but there is no evidence to support that claim.

  • djk (unverified)
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    I have no problem voting on this basic idea again in a couple of years. Imposing steep taxes on cigarettes to help pay for health care is a fundamentally good idea. I think the legislature should send voters a statutory referendum to tax tobacco for health care with (a) a lower tax rate, and (b) some different spending provisions. Similar principle, different law. Basically, meet the objections the Big Tobacco campaign relied on this time around, so they'll need to invent different arguments for their next $12 million campaign.

  • LiberalIncarnate (unverified)
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    "The voters have sent us a clear message with Measure 50's defeat."

    Yes, the clear message is "We can be bought by Big Tobacco". I heard it. Nice to know we live in a state with no morals.

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    You can claim you were protecting "low income smokers" at the expense of kids, but there is no evidence to support that claim.

    You can claim that low income people will only purchase as much of anything (including tobacco) as they can afford, but there is no evidence to support that claim. In fact, the anecdotal evidence all points to it being a bogus claim. I gave you one example. Labeling it a "red herring" doesn't change the fact that payday lenders made huge profits selling credit to low income Oregonians which many of those Oregonians simply could not afford.

    Another would be fast food. It doesn't take an economist to figure out that one is paying for the convenience as well as for the raw materials. Yet how often have we all seen or heard of low income people spending scarce resources buying fast food when those same resources would go further buying the ingredients and preparing the food themselves?

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    The clear message is: "Legislators - PLEASE do your job that we sent you to do and not dump it on us to decide for you".

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    Yes, the clear message is "We can be bought by Big Tobacco". I heard it. Nice to know we live in a state with no morals.

    And "let's give healthcare to poor kids as long as I don't have to pay for it" is MORE moral?

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    "We can be bought by Big Tobacco".

    I find this insulting. I decided how to vote on this WAY before any tobacco goons got involved. You are assuming that people are genrally stupid and can not think for themselves. Persoanlly, I have a college degree and CAN think for myself without having to use TV or tobacco propaganda. Your generalizing quote is very unintelligetnt to assume such garbage.

    Remember - when you assume, you make an 'ass' out of 'u' and 'me'.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    there is no evidence to support that claim. In fact, the anecdotal evidence all points to it being a bogus claim. I gave you one example. Labeling it a "red herring" doesn't change the fact that payday lenders made huge profits selling credit to low income Oregonians which many of those Oregonians simply could not afford...Another would be fast food.

    I take it back. Its not red herring, its lack of ability to reason that is at fault. The simple truth is that to pay more for tobacco "low income smokers" have to spend less somewhere else. There is no evidence that "low income smokers" are going to spend less somewhere else in order to pay the tobacco tax. All the anecdotal evidence is that as prices increase, smoking declines because smokers reduce their consumption rather than pay the higher prices.

    The result is that people who voted against measure 50 voted to deny kids health care to protect the tobacco companies' profits, not to protect "low income smokers".

    I find this insulting.

    You should.

    Persoanlly, I have a college degree and CAN think for myself without having to use TV or tobacco propaganda

    Nonetheless, you didn't. And the tobacco companies tested their messages to find ones that you and people like you would find persuasive. You voted to protect their profits by voting to deny kids health care. Neither the kids nor the tobacco companies give a rip about your reasons.

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    Eric P., thanks for clarifying. I agree that we should treat taxes in the constitution as a dead approach.

    However, one of the reason that the leg. sends so much stuff to voters is that they are required to do so. It appears that voters at least in the past have want statutory tax increases referred to them & passed that by initiative.

    I would like to correct the anomaly that it is easier to refer a constitutional amendment than a statute. We should work to repeal the supermajority rule & allow statutory taxes to be passed by the legislature, since voters would be able to reject them if they didn't like them.

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    All the anecdotal evidence is that as prices increase, smoking declines because smokers reduce their consumption rather than pay the higher prices.

    With respect to low-income people the evidence shows that from 1983 through 2002, which gets us well within the modern move to modify behavior through increased taxation, that the cessation GAP between low-income smokers and higher-income smokers INCREASED (ie. concentrated the remaining smokers into a lower socio-economic grouping). Thus, while it's demonstrably true that higher prices modify behavior overall, it does so to a lesser degree with low-income smokers - which, in case you've forgotten, is the group you made assertions about. And it goes directly contrary to your assertion about low-income people's spending habits.

    Where do low-income smokers cut back in order to pay higher cig prices? Who knows... maybe on health insurance?

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    You voted to protect their profits by voting to deny kids health care.

    You voted to make somebody ELSE help out with healthcare for kids. How... "progressive" of you. Especially since the fact that you're talking about it online indicates that you could likely more easily afford to help out.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Thus, while it's demonstrably true that higher prices modify behavior overall, it does so to a lesser degree with low-income smokers ...

    And it goes directly contrary to your assertion about low-income people's spending habits.

    How? You keep focusing on the red-herring - that low income people smoke more than wealthy. That is irrelevant. The question is where was the money to pay for children's health care going to come from. And the answer is out of the tobacco companies profits. That's why they spent all that money opposing the measure.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    You voted to make somebody ELSE help out with healthcare for kids.

    Yeh, the tobacco companies and without apologies.

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    Ross,

    It wasn't the anti-M50 side that was arguing that raising the tobacco tax would lead to more quitting and prevent more teens from starting. That would have been the pro folks. James X. was quite vociferous on the point as I recall. It is also a major argument of the national Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids & is considered as well-evidenced among public health people.

    That could only work if some fairly substantial portion of the tax were passed through by the tobacco companies.

    <hr/>

    It is really unjustifiedly arrogant and condescending of you to assert that anyone who disagreed with you must be brainwashed.

    Arguments against amending the constitution to easily and complaints about it happening too much in Oregon have long predated this issue. I think it was in the fight against the OCA's moronically vicious Measure 9, or possibly the first Measure 36, where a key pro-civil rights slogan was "Don't put Hate in the Constitution." In the aftermath I recall a lot of discussion about how amending the constitution was too easy & a bad thing, and a lot of people advocating voting down any constitutional amendment proposed by initiative. Many of the people who opposed M50 because they reflexively oppose government and taxes were on the other side of the debate then, as they were the ones putting up the amendments.

    The tobacco companies may indeed have tested and found that constitutional arguments would persuade a section of Oregon voters. That means they discovered a pre-existing disposition. You are right that they don't really care about the Oregon constitution, but it is a complete non-sequitur to say that somehow invalidates Eric's reasons.

    M50 failed because opponents stitched together a pretty diverse collection of opponents with different reasons. One of M50s problems was that it provided too many targets.

    The pro-M50 campaign did not effectively address the constitutional issue. A YouTube homemade ad by the same folks Kari drew attention to the other day for instance took the bull by the horns and said in effect, "hmm, healthcare for kids in the constitution, that's a bad thing why?" The pro side did not tell the story of Republicans blocking a straight statutory tax referral to voters or argue that they shouldn't be rewarded for playing politics with kids health funding that way.

    Calling people who care about the constitutional aspect stupid or dupes is an ineffective way to persuade them.

    Likewise with people concerned about singling out a small, disproportionately lower income group to pay for a common responsibility, and a population many of whom are addicted victims of the T-companies at that. Axiomatically the tobacco companies don't give a rip about that. Which is all the more reason to think those who do care about it really do.

    I voted Yes on 50, but I hated myself for doing so because it violated values important to me, in my case because I think this would have been a f'd up way to fund something we should do and might have obstructed the even larger reforms we really need.

    So why did I vote Yes? Because in the end I decided I'd feel worse about not trying to get 90,000 kids health insurance they need.

    But setting up a ballot measure in such a way that it confronts enough people to be the difference between winning and losing with a choice between two alternatives they hate is a losing strategy. "No" starts with an advantage in referenda anyway. Calling those folks names only worsens the problem.

    If we're going to get health insurance for kids and tobacco prevention & cessation moneys for the at risk and addicts, we're going to need Kevin and Jeanne and (I hope) Eric and others -- dozens and hundreds and thousands of smart, well-intentioned, thoughtful people who voted no on M50 for sufficiently good reasons according to their lights. Take a look at James X.'s post at Loaded Orygun. He's got the right attitude in my view.

  • djk (unverified)
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    ""The voters have sent us a clear message with Measure 50's defeat.""

    Well, no, "the voters" haven't. Every person in the voting booth makes up their own mind for their own reasons. While everyone tries to demogogue election results, it would take some extremely deep and probing polling to find out what the "real" message from the voters (if any) was.

    If there were, for example, seven reasons to vote "No" on Measure 50 (let's say -- "this doesn't belong in the constitution," "don't make ME pay more for my drug habit," "the funding mechanism is unsustainable," "I hate regressive taxes," "I hate all taxes," "I'm holding out for true universal health care," and "I do whatever the television tells me to do") and 10-20% of the "no" votes followed each one of those seven reasons, there's seven messages each coming from about 10-12% of the people who actually showed up to vote.

    That's neither a clear message nor any kind of mandate for or against anything. Until somebody actually takes the trouble to probe very deeply into the reasons behind the "no" vote, all we have is speculation and a fair amount of name-calling. But no clear message beyond "No to this specific proposal."

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    The elections results are now updated to fill in a bunch of missing counties. Just three left!

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    It is really unjustifiedly arrogant and condescending of you to assert that anyone who disagreed with you must be brainwashed.

    No it isn't. Its naive for people who repeat the arguments of a multi-million dollar campaign paid for by the tobacco indusrty and then expect anyone to believe they adopted those arguments on their own. Especially when they can point to zero evidence to support the central claim that the money would have actually come out of the pockets of "low-income smokers" and simply repeat the irrelevant association made by the tobacco companies between income and smoking.

    Arguments against amending the constitution to easily and complaints about it happening too much in Oregon have long predated this issue.

    Of course they have - this is just the first time they have actually been successful in stopping a dedicated tax. The gas tax has been part of the Oregon constitution for a very long time and voters have defeated several efforts to remove it. This had nothing to do with protecting the constitution. Unless you want to argue the voters thought dedicating a tax to kids health care was less important than to parks and salmon.

    Calling people who care about the constitutional aspect stupid or dupes is an ineffective way to persuade them.

    The campaign is over. As a result a bunch of kids will not get the health care they need. Some of them will never really recover from that. That's the clearly anticipated result of the decision made. Calling people who did that "stupid and dupes" is being charitable - it at least gives some morally innocent explanation for such an immoral outcome. I certainly wouldn't apply those adjectives to Mark Nelson.

    Likewise with people concerned about singling out a small, disproportionately lower income group to pay

    Opponents keep repeating that claim as if there was some evidence that really supported it. There isn't. There is no evidence the money was going to come from anywhere other than tobacco company profits. The claim to the contrary is just direct, uncritical, acceptance of the tobacco companies campaign talking point.

    If we're going to get health insurance for kids and tobacco prevention & cessation moneys for the at risk and addicts, we're going to need Kevin and Jeanne and (I hope) Eric and other

    Which is why it is unlikely to happen. Because the money has to come from somewhere. What this demonstrated, again, is that means out of the pockets of the unorganized and powerless. And those folks increasingly don't have the money to pay for it without the participation of the rich and powerful. If you can't get the voters to make the tobacco companies pay the bill, who do you think will?

  • Miles (unverified)
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    The campaign is over. As a result a bunch of kids will not get the health care they need. . . . Calling people who did that "stupid and dupes" is being charitable.

    Ross, I hope you're reserving some of your venom for Merkley and Kate Brown, who put M50 on the ballot, where it failed, instead of compromising with Republicans to get that final vote they needed. It was a political gamble, and they were wrong. If insuring kids is the ultimate goal, we could have probably insured some number less than 100,000 and done so with GOP support.

  • gl (unverified)
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    Ross I agree with some your ideas but the way you put your ideas in writing is polarizing.

  • Portland Dem (unverified)
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    I could of sworn I saw the ghosts of Brown and Merkley around the BM50 campaign. Maybe it was just their staff?

    I wonder if the leadership is feeling the pressure now for this next go around in Salem? Seems like there is an additional weight added to the prospects of SB329.

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    Its naive for people who repeat the arguments of a multi-million dollar campaign paid for by the tobacco indusrty and then expect anyone to believe they adopted those arguments on their own.

    The tobacco industry was running anti-M50 ads prior to January 19? We both know that's utter bullshit.

    Especially when they can point to zero evidence to support the central claim that the money would have actually come out of the pockets of "low-income smokers" and simply repeat the irrelevant association made by the tobacco companies between income and smoking.

    That's the same as Karl Rove's assertion that everyone else is entitled to "their" math while he's entitled to "the math".

    I've come vastly closer to backing up my argument than you have to backing up your's. But then again... you've already established your disconnect with reality with the bit about repeating anti-M50 ads.

    I see no reason to lend a resemblence of credibility to your fact-less assertions with further responses.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Ross, I hope you're reserving some of your venom for Merkley and Kate Brown

    So now its the proponents fault? I don't think so. Sure they made the wrong political judgment. But that is a whole lot different than sacrificing a bunch of poor kids to some theoretical philosophy about the state constitution.

    Ross I agree with some your ideas but the way you put your ideas in writing is polarizing.

    I intend them to be. The results of this vote are not a victory or defeat for some political philosophy. There are real kids whose lives will be ruined by this decision. There is nothing unfair about criticizing the people responsible for that, but it is inherently polarizing when you directly criticize the voters and hold them responsible for their personal choices instead of attacking politicians.

  • djk (unverified)
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    Ross, you're flat-out wrong that "The gas tax has been part of the Oregon constitution for a very long time and voters have defeated several efforts to remove it." There is NO gas tax in the Oregon constitution. There is a restriction on how revenues from motor vehicle fuel taxes and registration fees may be spent, which is an entirely different thing than a tax.

    "Unless you want to argue the voters thought dedicating a tax to kids health care was less important than to parks and salmon."

    Again, that's a false comparison. That measure didn't levy a tax, it placed restrictions on how certain revenue streams could be spent.

    If Measure 50 had been something like "all taxes levied upon tobacco products shall be used solely to provide health care for uninsured minors," you would have a point. As it is, you're comparing apples and oranges.

    I agree that the only reason the constitutional argument flew was several million dollars spent by Big Tobacco to broadcast it. However, the fact that some vile people adopt a meritorious argument for their own ends doesn't make the argument wrong.

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    Ross, you're being a self-righteous ass. You apparently would rather throw a fit and give up ("Which is why it's unlikely to happen") rather than think things through for a new approach. I hope this is a phase of outrage that will pass and that soon you will turn your obvious intelligence to more cooperative work on developing new strategy and action to get the most kids insured as quickly as possible. Including how to be more persuasive.

    Your gas tax argument is interesting. It would have made an effective response to the "putting taxes in the constitution for the first time" claim (or lie, if you're right). Very simple, effective, something people might even remember voting to keep in. Why didn't this ever get raised in the campaign? (I don't even recall seeing you raise it on BlueOregon though I could have missed it.) That it didn't is not the voters' fault, it's Yes on M50's.

    You have made the argument elsewhere in terms of frames, and people accepting them. That's a more useful way to look at the issue than labelling no voters. But again I'd say Yes on M50 failed to provide powerful frames of its own that might have persuaded people.

    Unfortunately I fear (though I don't know because I don't know how typical BO's main Yes on 50 advocates are of those running the campaign) that one reason there weren't stonger outside frames was a self-satisfied internal frame. That would be the: "anyone who opposes this must be an idiot, a dupe, a shill or morally deficient" frame, which implicitly constructs them as not worth attempting to persuade.

    You can think what you want (it is your right to be mistaken), but even if you refuse to change your view on these characterizations, you need to figure out how to capture more of the idiot-dupe-morally deficient vote, assuming real shills are beyond reach ;-).

    Which probably means not calling them those names, as a practical matter.

    Just for example, I was seriously considering a "no" vote at one point. Eventually I decided against it & voted yes. But if it had been just you & folks making similar arguments, I might have abstained or voted no. It was the rather different persuasive tack taken by John Kitzhaber that really swung my thinking.

    <hr/>

    You know, also, you really haven't made your argument that it's really the tobacco companies that will pay clear, at least to me, partly perhaps because so often you are arguing about it with Kevin in pretty global terms. I want to ask you some genuine questions here, i.e. these are not rhetorical digs. I'm asking respectfully so that I can understand better.

    First, as I understand it, the tax would go on, and the next day a smoker who paid one price for a pack of cigarettes will pay something more. It might be 84.5¢, it might be something less if the tobacco company ate part of the increase, though I don't see why they should on the face of it, it could conceivably be more, since they're going up a lot anyway. Unless the tobacco companies eat the entire cost of the tax I don't see how it is that the smoking classes aren't paying more. Even if they did, it wouldn't surprise me if local small vendors raised their prices to increase their retail margin. Is there any reason to think the tobacco companies would eat the whole cost?

    Second, if the price does in fact go up, which I say again seems implied if there is an effect that causes some smokers to reduce consumption, and an individual smoker meets the individual meets the rise by reducing his or her consumption to keep their cig. expenditure even, why isn't net revenue to the state zero? I.e. such cutbacks would influence tobacco company profits, depending both on total sales & amount of tax they ate or premium premium on top of tax they raised. But how would it result in tobacco companies paying for kids' healthcare. I truly don't see this.

    Third, how do you, or do you, deal with varying elasticity of demand among smokers? I assume you go along with James X's argument that rising prices (but dang, there is that price rise that seems to mean the companies aren't eating the tax, or not all of it) particularly reduce or prevent youth smoking, so that would be one variation in elasticity.

    But one thing that concerns me is that the elasticity will be least for those who are most stongly addicted, won't it? This does again seem to me to be a fairness issue.

    Likewise I think the assumption that consumption will just be reduced to maintain a constant smoking budget is not obvious. If there's research of which you know I'd be interested in refs. But certainly with alcohol and other addictive substances it is entirely possible that addicts with meet price rises by cutting back on other things, often to the detriment of their health or their family. There is a reason for the stereotype of desperate 19th c. working class mothers struggling with husbands who drank their paychecks and for why it was so powerful in making temperance a women's issue. Nicotine is reputed to by highly addictive. Is this exaggerated? If not, why should we assume that added consumer cost per cig. will not be taken from some other use of money rather than from reduced smoking?

    Thanks.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    The tobacco industry was running anti-M50 ads prior to January 19?

    The tobacco industry campaign started before the measure passed the legislature. And your argument linked above has been a standard industry talking point against higher tobacco taxes for a long time.

    I've come vastly closer to backing up my argument than you have to backing up your's.

    No, you haven't. You have used the same unrelated evidence that the tobacco companies have provided. You have provided no evidence that any of the revenue will come from smokers, poor or rich, instead of the tobacco companies. You just keep repeating the message that poor people are more likely to smoke.

  • Miles (unverified)
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    So now its the proponents fault? I don't think so. Sure they made the wrong political judgment. But that is a whole lot different than sacrificing a bunch of poor kids to some theoretical philosophy about the state constitution.

    To use your words: Brown and Merkley's wrong decision is not just a victory or defeat for their political judgment. The result of their decision not to compromise is that real kids' lives will be ruined by their decision. There is nothing unfair about criticizing the people responsible for that decision.

    That is, if insuring kids is really your goal. If so, Brown and Merkley bear some responsibility for the failure of M50.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Sounds like Ross is a poor loser. Chris is a good loser.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    I hope this is a phase of outrage that will pass

    I hope I never lose the ability to be outraged by the outrageous.

    There is NO gas tax in the Oregon constitution. There is a restriction on how revenues from motor vehicle fuel taxes and registration fees may be spent, which is an entirely different thing than a tax.

    OK - motor vehicle fuel taxes. I understand you can make a careful distinction between what Measure 50 does and the pages of other detailed tax restrictions in the constitution. Which is no doubt why it never came up. You end up in a discussion of constitutional minutae instead of the central issue for proponents which was getting kids health care.

    one reason there weren't stonger outside frames was a self-satisfied internal frame.

    Probably. That is usually what consultants are for but some of them are successful because they pitch what their clients want to hear.

    you need to figure out how to capture more of the idiot-dupe-morally deficient vote, assuming real shills are beyond reach ;-)

    I don't think so. I think there is a need to hold up a mirror so they can see what they have become. The folks that voted against this measure are the only ones responsible for passing an alternative. Each kid who doesn't get health care is their responsibility.

    It might be 84.5¢, it might be something less if the tobacco company ate part of the increase, though I don't see why they should on the face of it,

    Because they are already optimizing their price. If they raise the price, there will be a drop in sales that will more than eat up what they get in higher prices.

    Unless the tobacco companies eat the entire cost of the tax I don't see how it is that the smoking classes aren't paying more.

    Because they will buy fewer cigarettes while spending the same amount of money. I have stated the extreme, I suspect some revenue will come from smokers who don't cut back. But it is not at all clear that will be proportionately, much less disproportionately, from low income smokers.

    why isn't net revenue to the state zero?

    Because the elasticity of pricing for the tobacco companies is different than for the state taxes. The tax on a pack of cigarettes would have been $2.02. The tobacco industry portion, including retailers, get about $2.50 cents per pack.

    Even assuming the full increase was passed on to consumers, the testimony at the legislature indicated a decline of only 14% in cigarette sales. For the tobacco companies the question would have been whether they better off selling more cigarettes while eating part of that tax.

    But one thing that concerns me is that the elasticity will be least for those who are most stongly addicted, won't it? This does again seem to me to be a fairness issue.

    Lets go back to the original argument, that this is an unfair tax because it will so disproportionately fall on low income people. So unfair, that we should deny health care to children rather than impose such an unfair burden.

    Now we have a portion of the tax paid by tobacco companies and the question of who pays the remainder based on the elasticity of demand. So where is the real solid evidence that this is an unfair tax falling on the poor? There isn't any.

    Its the power of a wealthy industry that can repeat the argument over and over. Because it sounds plausible some people will believe it. And once believed, they will demand proof it isn't true, even though there never was any proof it was true to begin with.

    So what do you get? People voting to give a few poor people cheap cigarettes rather than health care for their kids.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    The result of their decision not to compromise is that real kids' lives will be ruined by their decision.

    And the children they would have had to exclude from coverage to get those Republican votes?

    It is the nature of people who assume the responsibilities of power that their decisions carry consequences for a lot of people other than themselves. The more powerful the people, the larger the consequences.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Sounds like Ross is a poor loser. Chris is a good loser.

    Maybe the kids whose lives you chose to destroy will be good losers too Eric. Is there some reason you take satisfaction in creating misery for others?

  • djk (unverified)
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    I understand you can make a careful distinction between what Measure 50 does and the pages of other detailed tax restrictions in the constitution. Which is no doubt why it never came up. Which is no doubt why it never came up. You end up in a discussion of constitutional minutae instead of the central issue for proponents which was getting kids health care.

    No, actually, it did come up. "We can't do this: We'll be putting a tax in the Oregon constitution for the VERY FIRST TIME!!!" (Or some pitch to that effect.)

    And that's correct. All the other tax-related stuff in the constitution (much of which shouldn't be there) controls voting on taxes, caps taxes, guarantees refunds of taxes, limits appraisals for tax purposes, allows or prohibits certain types of taxes (actually, I'm not sure if any type of tax is actually prohibited completely), or limits how the state can spend revenue raised by certain taxes.

    But nothing in the constitution imposes taxes. This really would have been a first. And it doesn't require a careful distinction. Measure 50 imposes a tax, unlike every other tax-related provision in the constitution.

    That's not minutae. That's a pretty obvious difference, and it was one of the major points of the Big Tobacco campaign. I suppose reasonable people can differ on how much of our tax code should be in the constitution (personally, I say "none of it"), but Measure 50 genuinely was something new, at least from the standpoint of a constitutional amendment.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Nicotine is reputed to by highly addictive. Is this exaggerated? If not, why should we assume that added consumer cost per cig. will not be taken from some other use of money rather than from reduced smoking?

    I think my point is why should you assume it will and deny kids health care on that basis?

    I am going strictly on my own smoking career during most of which I lived on a very limited budget - well below food stamp eligibility. I knew how many cigarettes I had and made them last until I had some money. That was also how it worked for others I hung out with. Unlike drugs and alcohol, nicotine addiction doesn't really cloud your judgment. It becomes a necessity you plan for, like food.

  • Jeanne (unverified)
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    Chris and Kevin,

    Thanks for the information. I know Ross likes to suggest that anyone who voted against Measure 50 was bought by Tobacco, but...I don't watch TV. Don't read propaganda. I've only heard about Big Tobacco's "talking points" from Blueoregon commenters. My primary information sources were the state of Oregon's publications and data. Glad to see I'm not alone.

  • Jeanne (unverified)
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    For clarity: I heard about the talking points on Blueoregon, AFTER I voted.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    And it doesn't require a careful distinction. Measure 50 imposes a tax, unlike every other tax-related provision in the constitution.

    I think that is a pretty careful distinction when you have several long pages of tax code already in the constitution along with dedication of revenue from certain taxes. What is really new here? Explain the real-life consequences that are so sweeping we should deny kids health care to prevent them.

  • Chuck Butcher (unverified)
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    All you folks beating the economic cost of cigarettes drum sure better not enjoy an alcoholic beverage, that is the brontosaurus in the living room, smoking pales in cost comparison to alcohol and it is not taxed at 80% of pricing at the moment. You want to make the issue and ignore the real issue in comparison. That is lying through misdirection and you know it. Don't make a demon while you're standing next to the devil. You make this kind of argument at serious risk. You decided that a 20% minority was fodder for your tax increase and that was the deal. The tax belongs on all Oregonians. Play straight and play fair and chances are Oregonians will step up. You deserved what you were handed.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    Ross likes to suggest that anyone who voted against Measure 50 was bought by Tobacco,

    I haven't made that argument. There are plenty of anti-tax, anti-government folks who voted against it. They don't hide behind the tax equity issue.

    I heard about the talking points on Blueoregon, AFTER I voted.

    You weren't paying attention to the entire legislative debate where these same arguments were raised by the tobacco industry?

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    You decided that a 20% minority was fodder for your tax increase and that was the deal.

    That is your excuse for destroying kids lives in a fit a political pique?

  • (Show?)
    Nicotine is reputed to by highly addictive. Is this exaggerated? If not, why should we assume that added consumer cost per cig. will not be taken from some other use of money rather than from reduced smoking?

    Good questions.

    Nicotine is highly addictive. There is no reason, other than bald-faced assertion (ala: the moon is made of green cheese) to believe that for a sizable majority of smokers the added consumer cost per cig would have been taken from other use of money rather than reduced smoking.

    FWIW, I am a nicotine addict. I'm also a recovering cocaine and meth addict (19+ years clean) and it is my experience that kicking coke and meth addiction, even though it required in-patient rehab, was nothing compared to trying to quit smoking - which I've attempted numerous times over the years. At my recent yearly physical I was talking with my very long-time doctor about this and she bluntly indicated that what I was saying concurred with her observations as a medical professional with decades of experience.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Your still too uptight, Ross. The election is over and you need to live with the decision of the voters. It's called living in a democracy.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    I voted against M50, but for M49

    The truth of the matter is that if someone came up with a plan that taxed the general population of the state with the proceeds going to kid's heathcare initiatives, I would most likely have voted YES.

    But this wasn't about kids healthcare: According to the pro forces, it was about making smokers quit, making sure that tobacco companies pay for their sins, and promising that 80% of the population would get something for nothing.

    On the eve of my quitting smoking (tomorrow will be my last day,) I am immensely grateful to the population for rejecting this crappy initiative, and immensely hopeful that this will inspire significant change in how we fund healthcare.

    AS for the ads, I found both the to be disingenious on both sides. They didn't influence my decision one way or the other...although I strongly considered just leaving 50 blank out of sheer disgust for both sides.

    Again: give us healthy kids from the general fund, and I would be all over it...heck, give us an 80cent tax on smokes that goes to smoking cessation programs, and I would be all over it as well. That makes SENSE.

    But this initiative was about as inspired as a painting by my great grandmother. By the numbers and devoid of nuance, no matter how well meaning the author.

  • gl (unverified)
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    "Maybe the kids whose lives you chose to destroy will be good losers too Eric. Is there some reason you take satisfaction in creating misery for others?"

    "That is your excuse for destroying kids lives in a fit a political pique?"

    pure comedy

  • Ernie D (unverified)
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    The defeat of M50 can be partly attributed to the anti-Measure 46 campaign one year ago (campaign finance reform). The main argument of M46 opponents was that changing Oregon's Constitution was terrible. Voters simply remembered that message and the anti-M50 leaders easily built upon people's preconception. Considering our Constitution has been amended over 200 times, it was an irrational argument then as it was this time.

    I find it ironic that The Oregonian is on a soapbox about the money spent to defeat M50 when they ignored that when the Pro-PUD campaigns were grossly outspent. For Multnomah County alone we were outspent 36 to 1 with about 99 percent of the money coming from for-profit utilities.

  • djk (unverified)
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    Considering our Constitution has been amended over 200 times, it was an irrational argument then as it was this time.

    Some amendments are proper for a constitution. Others are not. I'm pretty sure nobody out there is saying we should NEVER amend the constitution. But there's stuff in that that doesn't belong there at all, like the state's prison labor program, a ban on the sale of state timber for export, public employee retirement plan contributions, the kicker, an absurdly over-detailed property tax limitation scheme, and creation of a home care commission -- just to name a few. Some of these things are good ideas, but properly are the subject of statutes.

    In the case of campaign finance reform, an amendment is appropriate: the constitution as currently construed bans certain types of limits on campaign spending. A short, simple, one-sentence amendment would empower the legislature -- or the voters -- to develop campaign finance reform by law. What would NOT belong in the constitutionw would be several pages of details about how it works.

    The Constitution, as printed in the Oregon Revised Statutes, is 70 pages long. At least 20 pages of that doesn't belong there (probably more), and that's before you even get to the question of what's good policy or not.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    The election is over and you need to live with the decision of the voters.

    Actually its kids who will not live with that decision that are really the issue. I have to live with George Bush's war too. I don't have to be polite about what I think of it or him.

    pure comedy

    You can laugh at kids suffering all you want. The fact is there is an actual consequence to this vote. Children will not get needed medical care. Some will likely die. Some will never fully recover and will have to live with the consequences the rest of their lives.

    But you protected a constitution with pages of details about taxes from having one more detail added to it.

    Frankly, your parents failed you. You apparently lack a moral compass.

  • Ross Williams (unverified)
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    But this initiative was about as inspired as a painting by my great grandmother. By the numbers and devoid of nuance, no matter how well meaning the author.

    A new argument. A vote in defense of legislative artistry at the expense of kids lives. Do you people live in the real world? Or is everything an abstract, intellectual discussion based on a permanent suspension of disbelief.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)
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    Are you a Pastor or Preacher, Ross? Sure sounds like it. Your exhuberant rantings here are a prime example of why many people just give up and either don't vote at all or exit the political arena for good. Why would anyone want to get pounded over the head with a 'moral compass' over and over again over an issue like this? Why would they want to take such social abuse like that? Pounding anyone over the head with "its for the kids" propaganda over and over and over gets old real quick. It's better to try to reason with someone with a level tone and not make a mountain out of a molehill than to beat them over the head with it constantly. If someone makes a decision that isn't yours, why do you need to pound them in the head and tell them how 'wrong' they are? Are we not free to make our own decisions without retribution? Just because someone is against you does not mean you have to abuse them afterwards because of that decision.

  • andy (unverified)
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    If the leadership in Salem really cared about the kids they would've worked across the aisle and come up with a compromise bill that had some solid support. M50 was a stupid idea from the beginning. A tax on smokers to provide health insurance (not necessarily the same as health care) for some just didn't really make much sense.

    Ross, your moral rantings are absurd. You might be too tightly wound of a person to understand how stupid you sound. Maybe once you calm down you'll realize what an ass you're making of yourself. It is kind of funny to watch though. Kind of like watching some stupid drunk wander around in a bar shouting at all of the other people.

  • gl (unverified)
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    "Some will likely die. Some will never fully recover and will have to live with the consequences the rest of their lives."

    "Frankly, your parents failed you. You apparently lack a moral compass."

    Again pure comedy, and dont assume I voted against 50.

  • (Show?)

    Kevin, how about some home ec?

    let's say a family of 4 decides, we want burgers & fries tonight. 2 choices.

    <h1>1. go to supermarket. buy 1-1/2# ground beef ($4.50); buy package buns ($2); 3 lbs spuds ($3); package cheese, med cheddar, house brand ($2.50). we'll assume they have condiments at home. go home. spend 1 hr cooking -- and we're assuming they have a FryDaddy or other deep-fat fryer (or perhaps they love homefries, baked; that adds about 15 more minutes). $12, not counting tomatoes, lettuce, onion & condiments they ran out of. eat around 7pm, everyone cranky & exhausted.</h1> <h1>2. pull into drive-up. spend $4 - $6 per person. eat as you drive, or nibble the fries and eat at home. by 7, everyone is done, clean-up and watching Wheel of Fortune.</h1> <h1>2 possibly costs more, depending on what ingredients you have at home. what do you pay for the hour-plus for shopping, cooking, etc? what price on getting the kids fed now so they shut up and quiet down?</h1>

    the reason McDonalds et al prosper is that the food tastes good to many people and the convenience is well worth the extra bucks. trite answers, and uninformed analogies sound good, but they usually fall flat in the real world.

  • esta (unverified)
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    For once I agree with him, its not about the health care plan its about their proposed funding for it. One rip off the doctors who already care for our poor and eldery. Yeah thats a plan. Then raise taxes AGAIN on cigs. Which will mean a smaller pool of money as people either quit, ( not likely) or go deeper into black market. Not againt the plan but if we all want it we should all pay, not ripping off a very small segment of the population to do it. It wont be enough money for one, so it means the whole idea is to punish the smokers.. AGAIN..and then rip us all off when they dip into the general fund to cover shortfalls. Or worse, dont dip into it which means it will be yet another looks good on paper, lousy in excution program. Enough already. Wake up, just becuase 'its for the childern' doesnt mean the proposed plan is good. Its not, its insanity that doomed to failure.

  • JJ Ark (unverified)
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    Something has been bothering me for a week about this thread, the letters to the editor, and opinions expressed by others in face to face discussions. I couldn't put my finger on it till last night. It can be summed up by the following quote from here:

    "All this election "means" is that in 2007 costs ONLY TWELVE MILLION DOLLARS...to buy a profitable outcome under Oregon election law."

    Horsepucky.

    This is such a patently offensive statement that I thought it was a misprint...or something out of context. It isn't. I keep hearing it over and over.

    This is the crowing of the whiney elitist...eager to discount the opposition and make the voter out to be an unthinking moron incapable of actually reading a bill and deciding for themselves the correct course of action. All too eager to paint the opposition as stupid and gullible.

    I take offense at that characterization.

    The truth of the matter is that I READ the bill, and it didn't smell right. I also am leery of putting the burden of payment for non-smoker's childrens on the backs of those who do smoke -- an ever-shrinking minority.

    If you want to provide healthcare to children, then do the world a favor and tax appropriately -- spread the tax out over many folks in a sustainable fashion, and then yes, I would gladly approve it.

    I would even have voted for a cigarette tax for smoking prevention as well as cessation treatment. That alone makes me NOT categorically opposed to raising the cigarette tax, and thusly, NOT in the pocket of the tobacco interests.

    This consitutional amendment was bad. Poorly written, and poorly executed. Your side lost, so quit yer whining and get over it already. Get to work fashioning a REAL tax that will go to healthcare 100%.

    Lastly, do yourself a favor and stop telling the world that the tobacco lobby "bought" an election. No one "bought" my vote, and it just makes the teller look like an elitist a-hole.

  • Sherry (unverified)
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    I am a democrat and a smoker and I think the tobacco companies are a convenient and easy target for the progressives. I am a hard-core addicted smoker and would need an in-house treatment center to get free of this addiction. But of course, having rehab available for people who are ready to fight that battle is too simple an answer. Oh yes, and that would illiminate the delicious punishment factor.

    Back to the point - How many of you who are frantically trying to add more taxes to already taxed smokers, hop into your gas guzzler that I wouldn't drive even if I could afford it?

    The Mayor wants to ban smoking next to buildings, because of the trickle of smoke when 4 feet over there are busses and huge pickup trucks and vans puffing out clouds of poison, but that's ok.

    If you want to pay for healthcare with punishment taxes, then start by taxing expensive anti-invironment items that actually do massive harm. At least you would be targeting people who can afford to pay the "sin tax".

    If you truly want health care for all, then the insurance companies must be eliminated. They are nothing more than organized crime. Legalized murder and torture by withholding care whenever they choose while hard working Americans pay and pay and pay.

    That's my rant, and I'm stickin to it!

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