Street Roots endorses statewide measures

Real estate transfer/79: Amends Constitution: Prohibits real estate transfer taxes, fees, other assessments, except those operative on December 31, 2009

Summary: Current statutory law prohibits a city, county, district, or other political subdivision or municipal corporation from imposing taxes or fees on the transfer of real estate (with certain exceptions). However, the state legislature has the authority, subject to Governor approval, to impose such taxes and fees or to change current statutory law.

No! We do not want a private, national trade organization spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in our state to rewrite our constitution under the fog of false necessity. We have a statewide ban on real estate transfer taxes. We have a system that allows for the people of Oregon, our elected officials and due public process to both keep it that way and reserve the right to consider our options for the future.

Likewise, real estate transfer fees are not the taxation boogie men they have been made out to be. They can be constructed to provide relief to first-time homebuyers, lower-priced homes and long-term homeowners. And they can be directed to support real community needs, right here in Oregon, in ways that benefits all residents.

This measure isn’t something Oregon wants or needs

Marijuana cultivation-sale/80: Allows personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale

Summary: Currently, marijuana cultivation, possession and delivery are prohibited; regulated medical marijuana use permitted. Measure replaces state, local marijuana laws except medical marijuana and driving under the influence laws; distinguishes “hemp” from “marijuana”; prohibits regulation of hemp. Creates commission to license marijuana cultivation by qualified persons and to purchase entire crop.

Yes! It’s time Oregon pushed the envelope on the issue of hemp production, marijuana use and government oversight, and this bill will do just that. It’s far from a panacea on the nonsense of our war on drugs. But it is a starting point that can draw out new ideas on the matter of managing a long-distorted crop that has potential in many markets.

Casinos/Measures 82 and 83: Amends Constitution: Authorizes establishment of privately owned casinos; mandates percentage of revenues payable to dedicated state fund.

Currently, Oregon Constitution prohibits the operation of any casino within state (Outside of tribal ownership). Under this measure, the state lottery shall permit the operation of privately owned casinos within the state, provided that the particular operation is approved through initiative law. If the privately owned casino is to be located within an incorporated city, city electors must also approve casino location. The privately-owned casino shall pay 25 percent of adjusted gross revenues each month to a fund created by law for the purposes of fostering job growth, educational achievement, vibrant local communities, protecting and improving natural environment, and supporting all federally recognized Indian tribes in Oregon.

No! Indeed, gambling can be fun, and there’s nothing wrong with that. But there is a reason that vice is best kept in check. The proliferation of gambling centers is a regressive model for extracting tax dollars from middle- and low-income Oregonians. This is a service no one is clamoring for, so it is being sold as a jobs package with a bonus pay-off for the state. In exchange, we get low-wage service sector positions and millions of dollars siphoned out of Oregon’s economy. Oh, and a constitution that now says we’re OK with that, so everybody join in!

Oregon has its share of gambling facilities, and we have a practical system in place to keep this vice under some measure of control. We cannot afford to expand this poor man’s taxing industry further in our state.

Inheritance tax/84: Phases out existing inheritance taxes on large estates, and all taxes on intra-family property transfers

Summary: Current state law imposes one-time tax on estate of person dying on/after January 1, 2006, if estate’s gross value — determined by federal law as of December 31, 2000 — is at least $1,000,000. Current law taxes income-producing property sales, regardless of parties’ relationship.

No! If you inherit an estate worth $1 million or more, you have acquired a measure of great wealth and you should pay taxes on it. The argument of double taxation, that opponents of estate taxes often use, holds no water here. Value and wealth change hands every day, for the advancement of many, and property is no exception. Moreover, property can accrue “unrealized” capital that is never taxed unless it is sold. Taxes are the responsibility of every citizen of means to support the local and national well being, including feeding the hungry and educating our children. We can’t afford to write in yet another loophole for the wealthy to skirt that responsibility.

Corporate kicker/85: Amends Constitution: Allocates corporate income/excise tax “kicker” refund to additionally fund K through 12 public education

Summary: Before each biennium, the governor must prepare an estimate of revenues expected to be received by the General Fund for the next biennium. The General Fund is the primary funding source for schools, prisons, social services other state-funded programs/services. Current law requires an automatic “kicker” refund of corporate income and excise tax revenue when that revenue exceeds estimated collections by two percent or more. Measure allocates the corporate income and excise tax “kicker” refund to the General Fund to provide additional funding for K through 12 public education. Measure does not change the constitutional personal income tax “kicker” provision.

Yes! Measure 85 will not solve the state’s education funding issues — the state’s tax system is broken far beyond one or two simple repairs. This measure is hopefully the first of many to begin working on fixing that system — something that the leadership in Salem has be unable or unwilling to do.

Street Roots supports the passage of Measure 85, not because we think it will fix the broken tax system and result in proper funding for education.  We support the passage of this measure as a first step in tackling a seriously broken tax system. It is our hope that with the passage of Measure 85 many more steps will be taken to ensure that education, social services and other things that we count on the state to provide are properly funded.

Also see Street Roots endorsements on local measures in Portland and Multnomah County.

One response to “Street Roots endorses statewide measures

  1. Pingback: Street Roots endorses local measures | For those who can’t afford free speech

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