It's official. Oregon voters will vote on nine ballot measures in November - seven initiatives and two legislative referrals.
The numbers haven't been formally announced, but the good folks at the Sockeye sorted out the order as defined by law. So, here's the rundown!
First, the two legislative referrals. Measure 77 would amend the Oregon Constitution with a specific continuity of government plan in the event of "catastrophic disaster" (terrorism, tsunami, volcanic eruption, etc.) It's fascinating stuff (see 2011's HJR 7) - stay tuned for a longer post.
Measure 78, by contrast, is the very definition of a housekeeping measure. It fixes a spelling error, renames a few things, and removes male-gender language that refers to the Secretary of State. (See 2011's HJR 44.) Yippee.
Now, to the fun stuff.
Measure 79 would create a constitutional ban on real estate transfer fees. It's brought to you by the Realtors Association. Of course, they're already barred under state law - so this is like a super-duper ban. Especially silly since any move to create one would surely trigger a referendum fight, so - just like a constitutional ban - we'd be having a public vote to create one.
Measure 80 is the measure to legalize, regulate, and tax marijuana. We're going to spend way too much time this fall blathering about whether marijuana should be legalized, and way too little time talking about the actual implementation details.
Measure 81 would ban nontribal gillnet fishing in Oregon. Advocates argue that gillnets indiscriminately trap and kill wildlife (including marine mammals and endangered species), and that commercial fishers can use other kinds of nets that are more humane and selective. It's been pushed by a coalition of environmentalists and sportfishers. Naturally, it's opposed by commercial fishers, who are traditionally at odds with environmentalists and sportfishers. (Tribes are exempt from the state ban because their fishing activity is protected under treaty rights and federal law.)
Measure 82 would create a constitutional rule that allows privately-owned taxpaying casinos in Oregon provided that the people cast a statewide vote to approve each one. Measure 83 is a vote to allow a single casino in Wood Village. As planned by its sponsors, it would generate some 2500 full-time living-wage jobs, pay nearly $30 million in regular business taxes, as well as a tax equal to 25% of all gaming revenues for schools and law enforcement. In 2010, the gaming tax was estimated to generate roughly $150 million annually. We're going to be talking about this one a lot, too.
Measure 84 is an estate tax repeal that comes from Kevin Mannix's bottomless pit of bad ideas. According to Tax Fairness Oregon, this tax cut would benefit roughly 730 Oregon families while pulling $100 million a year out of the state budget for schools, health care, and prisons. Another bad idea that deserves to die.
Measure 85 reforms the corporate kicker. When the corporate kicker kicks, those funds would be dedicated for K-12 education - rather than shipped back to corporations (including out-of-state ones that have no idea why Oregon is sending them a check.) At long last, kicker reform!
We're going to have nearly a hundred days of debate on these suckers. And here at BlueOregon, we'll be talking about most of them at substantially more length. But what's your first take? Your reactions?