Creative Destruction

November 1, 2006

How I’m Voting This Election Cycle: Oregon Ballot Measures

Filed under: Election 2006 — Ampersand @ 6:13 pm

Here in Oregon, we all vote by mail, so most Oregonians have already gotten their voter ballots. Many have already voted, in fact, but I tend to procrastinate.

So – how I’m voting.

No on Measure 39 – This is an anti-Kelo ballot measure, which basically says that the Oregon government cannot condemn property because they want to give the property to private developers. I’m moderately in favor of the principle behind this measure ((although I’m also a little against the worship of private property rights that this measure appeals to.)), but the measure 39 writers stuck in some stuff at the bottom regarding how the courts should award attorney fees in disputes between government and property owners. I don’t like the practice of sticking obscure changes to the laws at the bottom of a popular measure; changes like that should be made through the legislature, or through a separate ballot measure, not snuck in as a more popular ballot measure’s carry-on luggage.

No on Measure 40 – Elect Oregon Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Judges by district. I’ve written about this one before, although its measure number has changed since then. I’m voting against this: Judges enforce laws for the entire state, not for their own districts.

No on Measure 41 – allows Oregonians to choose to take the Federal exemption when paying Oregon income tax. In other words, it’s a tax cut, of about $400 million a year for most of the next several years, and higher thereafter. The makers of this ballot measure don’t say what $400 million in government services they want to cut to pay for their tax cut, nor do they suggest any alternative forms of revenue the state should pursue. And because the measure is retroactive, the budget already passed for the current year would be entirely screwed up.

Oregon has already cut back painfully on essential services, such as schools, largely due to similar “unfunded tax cuts” in past ballot measures. We can’t afford a $400 million dollar a year tax cut.

Yes on Measure 42 – Prohibits insurance companies from charging people with bad credit records higher rates on their insurance. I’m strongly in favor of this one. Because a checkered credit history is so strongly associated with economic class, the current system effectively discriminates against poor people by allowing insurance companies to charge them more for the same services.

Incidentally, this ballot measure is sponsored by Bill Sizemore, who has written more horrible, right-wing ballot measures than anyone else in Oregon. I never thought I’d live to see the day I’d vote for anything with Sizemore’s name on it…

No on Measure 43 – Parental Notification on Abortion. In Oregon, minors 15 and over have the right to get medical treatment of any sort without telling their parents. This would make an “abortion exception” to that law, requiring that parents be given 48 hours notice before a 15, 16, or 17 year old can have an abortion.

Abortion is safest when done early in a pregnancy; the effect of this law is that minors would delay having an abortion until it’s less safe. Plus, it would require raped and abused 15-year olds to have the savvy, confidence and knowledge to navigate Oregon’s legal system in order to have confidential abortions – an absurd demand to make of a teenage girl pregnant by her father, or a rape victim who feels her parents would blame her for being raped.

Yes on Measure 44 – Allows all Oregonians who don’t have prescription drug coverage, to participate in the Oregon Prescription Drug Program (which is currently restricted to only lower-income Oregonians over age 53). More affordable prescription drugs, via the government’s ability to negotiate lower prices through bulk-buying. This one is a no-brainer.

No on Measure 45 – term limits. If Oregonians want to vote for someone for the third or fourth or tenth time, they should have that right. Plus, a legislature without anyone with long-term institutional knowledge tends to be ineffective.

Maybe on Measure 46 & 47 – campaign finance reform. I’m still not sure how I’m voting on these; I favor campaign finance reform in general, but I’m not sure if this specific approach is good. There’s a good article touching on the arguments both for and against here. I may end up voting yes for Measure 46, which amends the Oregon constitution to make campaign finance reform possible, and no on Measure 47, the specific reforms being proposed this time around.

No on Measure 48 – spending cap for Oregon government. This measure would cap Oregon government expenditures at the current level, adjusted for increasing population and inflation. The writing of this ballot measure is sloppy – for instance, the measure doesn’t make it clear when it takes effect if passed (is the current budget year affected?).

If measure 48 passes, it would would lower Oregon’s credit rating, so we’d have to pay out higher interest for bonds when the State borrows money in the future (borrowing money by issuing bonds is a routine way states pay for major infrastructure improvements, among other things). So this measure would mean that Oregonians would end up paying more for the same results, on anything we use bonds to pay for. That’s just stupid.

Besides, we’re already spending too little on education, infrastructure, and services. Why cap ourselves at “too little”?

* * *

That’s it for ballot measures. I’ll post again in a day or two with candidate endorsements.

5 Comments »

  1. While your ballot isn’t quite as long as Colorado’s (14 statewide ballot measures), at 10 it is pretty close.

    Those numbers IMHO approach the upper limit of what is possible through direct democracy, and really go too far.

    Comment by ohwilleke — November 1, 2006 @ 7:02 pm | Reply

  2. ((although I’m also a little against the worship of private property rights that this measure appeals to.)),

    Isn’t this just a eupehmism for “I want to be able to take your stuff (or have the government do it for me) so I (or my proxies) can use it for the purposes for which I want it used?”

    It seems to me that when you are against property rights, what you ultimately support (whether intentionally or not) is that unproductive people ought to be subsidized and productive people penalized. From each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs reward need and punishes ability. The likely end result is that people have to be forced to be productive, or society will collapse becasue people would rather get something for nothing than get nothing for something.

    Comment by Glaivester — November 2, 2006 @ 11:25 pm | Reply

  3. Isn’t this just a eupehmism for “I want to be able to take your stuff (or have the government do it for me) so I (or my proxies) can use it for the purposes for which I want it used?”

    And isn’t the debate against recognition of same-sex relationships simply a euphemism for “We don’t trust you to live your lives for yourselves, so we’re going to tell you how to do it right, and we are going to be the ones who define what is right”?

    Face it. Whether it involves the economic (property rights) or interpersonal (domestic partnerships), government has no place to tell us what we can or cannot do. Only when we start to cause active harm to another person with our actions, whether physical or mental or economic, does government have the right to step in.

    If there is no such harm, then it should be outside of the purview of the government. Period. Ad infinitum.

    Comment by Off Colfax — November 3, 2006 @ 1:41 am | Reply

  4. (although I’m also a little against the worship of private property rights that this measure appeals to.

    Isn’t this just a eupehmism for “I want to be able to take your stuff (or have the government do it for me) so I (or my proxies) can use it for the purposes for which I want it used?”

    No, euphemism for that is “highly progressive taxation for government programs”.

    Comment by Tuomas — November 3, 2006 @ 9:31 am | Reply

  5. Comments 2-4 all sing praises of what’s now being called (in some circles, anyway) “market fundamentalism.” Like religious fundamentalism, it takes assumptions unexamined and raises them to ideals. It’s clearly the dominant view these days, and it’s euphemistically called “globalism.” However, it’s also not all it’s cracked up to be.

    Glaivester wrote:

    The likely end result is that people have to be forced to be productive, or society will collapse becasue people would rather get something for nothing than get nothing for something.

    What makes you think that society isn’t already collapsing around us? There’s lots of evidence.

    I’ll try to prepare a longer, thoughtful post on this stuff over the weekend. No promises.

    Comment by Brutus — November 3, 2006 @ 6:51 pm | Reply


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