2012 Voter’s Guide: Oregon State Measures

Following are my suggestions for the state measures.

77 – disaster authority: YES

From the legislature. This measure solidifies in to the state constitution that which is already law, the governor’s ability to declare a disaster. Additionally, it gives the governor the ability to transfer money from certain funds to pay for disaster response and recovery. To counter this authority being abused, the legislature will convene within 30 days to pass law as to what action to take. Sounds reasonable to me.

78 – constitutional text tidying: YES

From the legislature. This measure tidies up some text in the constitution. Just vote Yes.

79 – real estate transfer tax prohibition: NO

This measure makes it unconstitutional for a local government (state, county, or city) to impose any new taxes or fees on transferring real estate interests. What does that mean? Well, nothing really as it is already against the law, but by writing it in to the constitution means that should we as a people or the legislature decide a transfer tax/fee is needed, it would require amending the constitution again to allow it.

80 – legalize marijuana: YES

It’s time to be adults and admit the prohibition on marijuana is going to end, it’s just a matter of time. Many states already have medical exemptions, and several others have measures this election to legalize it. The sooner we start the legalization process, the sooner we can start regulating, standardizing, and taxing it. Yes, some people will grow there own (they already do), but as it becomes cheaper to buy than grow, those who choose to use, will buy it instead. As a comparison, it is legal to grow your own tobacco, but no one does. As for marijuana being a gateway drug, it’s no more of one than alcohol, tobacco, pain pills, and a plethora of other legal drugs, which are just as if not more harmful. Finally, if this measure does pass, it will most likely end up in the Supreme Court as a they will have to decide whether the legality of marijuana is the federal or state’s right to set.

81 – gill net fishing ban: NO

I’ll admit that all I know about this topic is what I’ve read in the Voter’s Guide and a brief description from http://www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/cr_seafoodwatch/sfw_gear.aspx
, but here is what took away from it. Gill nets are already illegal on all inline waters except for the Columbia, and while these types of nets are known for unintentionally catching other sea life than what the fishers are supposed to catch, such as wild salmon instead of hatchery salmon, but so do other forms of fishing. By banning gill nets to Oregon fishers, this could likely end Oregon commercial fishing on the Columbia as Washington fishers can still use them. While we should work to ban all gill net fishing on the Columbia, we should work with Washington to ban it together, or we aren’t really helping the environment at all, just hurting our economy.

82 / 83 – private casinos: NO

I’m not a big gambler, but I have no issue with casinos. They take money from those who are willing to part with it even if they can’t afford it. What those casinos do with the money is more of what is at stake. While tribal casinos give back less to the state than the proposed private casino would, the tribal casinos mainly use the profits for the betterment of their community, which in turn helps us out be being less of a strain on our resources, whereas a private casino, well we don’t know what a private casino will do with it, but most likely take it out of the state and put it in the coffers of their share holders.

84 – estate tax phase out: NO

We live in a country that allows some people to amass great wealth, usually on the backs of others. The estate tax (or “death tax” for those who wish)
is a way of spreading some of that wealth around after that person passes. The current Oregon estate tax is levied again those people who’s estates are over 1 Million dollars, but not on that first million, so at least that much can go to their heirs untouched. The rest is taxed on a sliding scale. By doing away with the estate tax, the state government will lose vital funds used to provide services to all Oregonian, and while 1 million dollars may seem a little low by today’s standards, doing away with it entirely will harm many more than it will benefit.

85 – kicker funds to schools: NO

I really want to say YES to this one, but it’s not a good plan. The kicker fund is inconsistent because it’s what is left over if the state under-estimates how much money it needs from corporate taxes, which can be $0. We need to fund out schools with consistent amounts so that they can budget regularly, not throw a handful of money at them one moment and none the next.

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