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Did money defeat Measure 30?

Maybe not.
I think too much credit has been given, in the defeat of Measure 30, to rightwing money. Money may have put M30 on the ballot, but I didn't see any signs that money defeated it -- no visible TV ad campaign, etc. We need to look at what else is going on.

State legislators should have known that their budget balancing bill would be referred to the voters and defeated. The defeat of M28 last January should have told them that. Their plan was way too complicated for most voters to understand. I don't think most people understand a progressive tax, or understood that most people would be paying only a few more dollars a month in state taxes. All they knew what that taxes would go up, and they feel like they're paying too much already. You cannot send any kind of complicated measure to the voters and expect it to pass. They will not get it, and TV news, for most people the only news they get, will not explain it to them.

Nor did the coalition which tried to pass M30 do a very good job of explaining to people how much M30 would cost them. The flyer I saw said something like "This is a fair tax. Those who make more will pay more." No, that doesn't do it. You have to tell people exactly, as close as you can, what it will cost them. There should have been a simple table on the flyer, telling people what the average tax would be for a given income range. The state Legislative Revenue Office had something like that on their website.

The bottom line is that Oregonians are not going to vote to increase their taxes, no matter what. They don't care who gets hurt, they just will not pay any more. You could call that greed or self-defense, but that is what is happening, and we need to work around it.

The state legislature will be having a special session in June on tax reform. Before that they will do hearings around the state. We need to be at those hearings and campaign for a fairer tax system that will increase state revenue enough to fund human services and education. Progressives need to study the state tax system so they understand it well enough to explain it to others. If the legislature can't produce a fairer system, and they probably won't, we should start thinking about an initiative for 2006.

At a recent Eugene workshop on the state budget and taxes I found out that 52 cents out of every tax dollar is never collected because of tax credits. We should think about an initiative to abolish all the tax credits that go to business. People will not support any tax increase they have to pay, but I think they would vote to cut out business tax "loopholes." Someone wrote a while back that the state legislature has been "passing out tax credits like candy."

To start learning about the Oregon tax system, check out the website for Citizens for Oregon's Future at  http://www.fororegon.org/ . They are available to do nonpartisan workshops and presentations.
My Rant 14.Feb.2004 17:10

why 30 was defeated

There is going to be a backlash from people like me if the labor-education-social service folks don't wake up.

First, let me say that I voted for Measure 30. I have been a left activist for my entire adult life. I have been the president of a 60 member labor union, and have been an organizer for environmental, educational, health care, labor and poverty issues. In the last several months I have been there for my labor brothers and sisters, and for the people struggling to keep their head out of the water.

I am now 55 years old, unemployed, and have no health insurance. My asthma medicine costs me $120 per month. The roof over my head costs 50% of what my wife and I make. I voted for the Multnomah County tax last year -- and now I have to figure out how the hell I'm going to pay for it. When I ask that the rich pay their fair share, my liberal pals say, "we can't do that." I can shout myself hoarse in front of Powells and Safeway for healthcare for the workers, but when I ask for health care for ALL, including me, my labor brothers and sisters forget all about their fucking Solidarity.

How the hell are you going to convince working people like me that I should support your struggles, when you have done a pisspoor job of supporting mine. At the Safeway rally today, they read off a list of groups who were represented and asked if anyone was missed. When I and a couple of other folks shouted "the unemployed," we were totally ignored. If I didn't know that the struggle of the unions is necessary for the good of us all, I would say, "fuck you too."

I agree 14.Feb.2004 18:16

Lynn Porter

Oregon's labor unions did not support Measure 23, the Health Care For All initiative, in Nov. 2002, because they said it would increase the amount they paid for healthcare insurance. I also heard speculation, which may or may not be true, that the unions didn't support M23 because part of their power is negotiating health insurance benefits for their members, and they wanted to keep control of it. Regardless, they didn't seem to care much about the rest of us.

Oregon unions have twice passed initiatives to raise the minimum wage, which is a good thing. But they need to start doing more politically for nonunion working-class people like us, or we're liable to decide that our interests are not the same as those of middle-class union members.

Keep ranting 16.Feb.2004 00:08


People will ignore you if they can. Please stay loud, don't let them ignore you, and vote.

I heard an interview on the radio the other day. Didn't catch who was talking as I didn't hear the whole thing. He was talking about how the majority of people who vote are those who are older and have money. I guess we all know that. He said that if the masses of people who are poor actually voted, America would be a very different place. Politicians will do and say whatever it takes to get elected. If they thought the poor were a viable electoral power, things would be different.

measure 30 17.Feb.2004 10:04

laughing daisy

measure 30 was just a opportunity for the continuation of bad government. we don't need to give any more money to this fucked up, racist, classist, system. we need a new way of living, and voting no on measure 30 is a step in the right direction. do you really think that the people who miss spent all of our money in the first place are really going to do right with this chunk?? hell no. in a couple of years we would be right back to where we are now. no money, we need more, please feed us.. blah blah balh. its time for a new way of living. our way is not sustainable. we need to change our ways now if we don't want our mother earth to kill us for poisoning her with our ignorance.

the perils of anti-intellectualism 17.Feb.2004 20:02

Giuseppe Verdi

Daisy's comments remind me of a comment I made to a good article co-authored by Doug Henwood, Liza Featherstone, and Christian Parenti entitled "The Trouble With Left Activism" (see  http://www.indybay.org/news/2004/02/1669669_comment.php#1669922):

I say there IS a problem that the article has hit on. I meet people who subscribe to "anticapitalism" but can't coherently define what a capitalist is. I meet leftists who are so soured on "government" that they rail against it with rhetoric that is sometimes indistinguishable from rightwing populism, barely pausing to acknowledge that there are government social programs that actually help ordinary people that shouldn't be arbitrarily cut or allowed to wither away. I meet such people all the time.

I also hear complaints made about the frustrations of people who have tried to work with "mainstream" peace groups which refuse to even open a dialogue about the ways in which capitalism and imperialism lead to war. See this piece for a good account of such experiences in Portland: