by Chuck Bennett, Director of Governmental Relations
If you’re looking for makeup tips for barnyard animals, wrong blog – this one’s about elections. Okay, the two can be mingled but national politics is on a plane of macro-economics, foreign policy and higher ideals. So let’s set aside lipstick, voting percentages that follow George Bush’s or Harry Reid’s lead, office remodeling costs and whose pastor is more or less committed to American exceptionalism. This commentary is more mundane.
Of course the top of the Oregon ballot will give each of us a chance to tip the scales between McCain and Obama or Merkley and Smith. The emphasis here is toward the bottom. The part you have to read – ballot measures.
There’s a batch of them this time and several have serious implications for education in Oregon. COSA’s board of directors reviewed the measures and have the following recommendations:
BM 56 – Support. This measure repeals the double majority voting requirement on issues placed on ballots in May and November elections.
BM 58 – Oppose.
The measure limits teaching students in a language other than English
for more than two years. It is designed to end existing ESL programs.
The estimate of financial impact set by the state is between $203 and
$253 million in each of the first two years of passage. Out-year costs
are expected to change depending on the number of non-English speaking
students and their academic performance.
BM 59 – Oppose. Creates an unlimited deduction
for federal income taxes on individual taxpayers’ Oregon income tax
returns. It is estimated the plan, brought to the ballot by Bill
Sizemore, will cost the state General Fund $1.244 billion during the
2009-11 biennium and $2.268 billion in the 2011-13 biennium. It also
appears to provide only minimal tax relief for average Oregon taxpayers
but substantial cuts for Oregon’s top 1% of income earners. The
estimate of financial impact is approximately $360 million in the first
year of passage and $1 billion in the second. Estimates are that it
would have a $1.2 billion impact every year after that. K-12 losses
would be around 45% of those dollars.
BM 60 – Oppose. The ballot measure proposes
salary increases and layoffs for teachers be based solely on classroom
performance overriding locally determined standards including
qualifications, teaching competence, experience, educational
attainments, licensure and seniority. The estimate of financial impact
sets BM 60 at $30 million to $72 million in additional state and local
spending in the first school year. After that it is estimated the
annual cost will be between $30 and $60 million in state and local
BM 62 – Oppose. Kevin Mannix’s ballot measure
would amend the constitution to allocate 15% of lottery proceeds to a
public safety fund and reduce the percentages going to other
beneficiaries like education. Estimate of financial impact is $100
million out of state lottery revenues the first year and $106 million
the second year – estimated costs for K-12 are about $186 during the
first biennium. The cost goes up in the future to $113 million in the
third year and $120 in the fourth.
BM 63 – Oppose. This Sizemore measure exempts
certain property owners from state and local building permit
requirements for improvements valued at under $35,000. The measure
appears to constitute a serious threat to local real estate values,
homeowner insurance, environmental protection, public safety and the
state land use system. This measure is expected to reduce local
government revenue between $4 million and $8 million and state revenue
between $450,000 and $750,000.
The COSA board has passed
resolutions on measures 58 and 60 at the request of the campaign
organization leading the opposition, Defend Oregon. Defend Oregon is a
broad based organization financed primarily by public employee unions.
If you are interested in the COSA resolutions, you can access them via the following links:
COSA Board Resolution – Ballot Measure 58
COSA Board Resolution – Ballot Measure 60
If you are interested on contacting the campaigns involved in these issues to learn more, contribute or take part, contact:
Treasure Mackley: Campaign Manager firstname.lastname@example.org
Becca Uherbelau: Communications Manager email@example.com
Michael Cox: Outreach Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org