Representatively Speaking: Upcoming ballot measures

By Representative Rob Nosse

In late spring, I wrote about petitions that were circulating and vying for the November ballot. Since then, the signatures have been collected, verified and counted. There will be five statewide ballot measures, and I thought I’d use this column to let you know how I plan on voting on each of these, and why.

Measure 102 (YES): Measure 102 is the only statewide ballot measure I’m planning to vote yes on (spoiler alert!). The measure allows local governments to partner with businesses and non-profits to build affordable housing using bond money. Under current law, local jurisdictions must keep money raised from bonding and money for housing from the federal government in separate pools. Measure 102 simplifies the process, so we don’t end up leaving money on the table. With much of Oregon still in a housing crisis, this measure is a good idea. It will help local governments to build more affordable housing faster.

Measure 103 (NO): This Measure may sound good at first blush: no tax on groceries, but when you dig deeper, you realize that’s just a misleading campaign slogan. For starters, there is no tax on groceries, nor is there one being proposed (at the ballot, or by members of the legislature); even states that have a sales tax exempt groceries.
Second, the language of this measure is so vague, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t be applied just to grocery stores, but also to trucking companies that transport food, slaughterhouses, processing plants, fast food restaurants, and any other business in the food supply chain.
On top of that, it would apply to all taxes, even the corporate minimum, so no matter what happens with inflation or our state’s revenue, this group of businesses would have a permanent tax exemption baked into our state’s constitution.
This is not the kind of law we should be enshrining in our constitution. Revenue issues change dramatically all the time. (Big changes were made at the federal level last year right before Christmas.) Our state needs to be able to respond to these changes.  Adding a permanent tax loophole for select profitable businesses to our constitution makes that harder. I will definitely be voting no on Measure 103, and I urge you to do the same.

Measure 104 (NO): In a similar vein, Measure 104 also amends the constitution. It would require a super-majority (three fifths of the legislature) for votes that increase fees and close tax loopholes, including routine and necessary fees, and getting rid of wasteful tax breaks that refund millions of dollars to big corporations or the wealthy that are not needed. We already have a super-majority requirement for bills that raise revenue. This measure is unnecessary, and will only create more gridlock in Salem.

Measure 105 (NO): This measure was brought forward by the nationally recognized hate group Oregonians for Immigration Reform. Measure 105. If passed it would throw out Oregon’s sanctuary state law, which has been on the books for 30 years, and open the doors for racial profiling and civil rights violations. I’ve strongly opposed the inhumane and immoral practices of ICE under this federal administration. Measure 105 would bring those same policies to Oregon. By voting no, we can show that Oregon is a welcoming state that wants no part in inhumane anti-immigration policies.

Measure 106 (NO): Since I first ran for office, I have always said that I would fight for a woman’s right to choose, and to ensure that Oregonians have access to safe and affordable reproductive health services. It’s why I voted “yes” on last year’s Reproductive Health Equity Act, and why I will be voting “no” on Measure 106, which would restrict Oregonians’ ability to access safe, legal abortions.
By targeting public employees and Medicaid recipients, this measure would hurt the women and families that need access to reproductive healthcare the most.  That means low-income Oregonians who may receive coverage through the Oregon Health Plan would not have access to abortion through their insurance. We should not be cherry-picking which healthcare services are and are not covered by insurance, and certainly not by how much money you have or how you are insured.

That’s what will be on your ballot this November. Right-wing groups are definitely on the offensive this year, so it’s important to start talking to your friends and family now, so we can push back on these harmful measures.

I hope to see you out on the campaign trail this fall.