Tuesday, June 05, 2007

If you're not gonna be a part of a civil society, then just get in your car and drive on over to the East Side.

Of the many "reforms" that state anti-tax crusaders have given us I have to say the 3/5th majority rule in the legislature is just about the most egregious. Over at Blue Oregon Chuck Sheketoff does a good job of explaining how this stupid rule passed by the voters is mucking up true progress in the legislature-

If a majority of the Oregon Legislature thinks a tax is needed to support an important program, or that a tax break for a powerful interest ought to be stopped, or that an outdated tax should be updated, lawmakers should be allowed to make the change. That’s why we elect them.

If a majority of the Oregon Legislature think unanticipated revenues ought to be saved for a rainy day or devoted to a one-time investment that will reap long-term rewards for Oregonians, lawmakers ought to be allowed to take such action. That’s why we elect them.

But majority rule does not apply in Oregon on these important issues. Instead, a minority of the Legislature can hold the majority hostage. How can that be? Oregon voters gave the power to small factions of the Legislature when they voted to require a three-fifths (3/5) majority to raise taxes (36 instead of 31 in the House and 18 instead of 16 in the Senate) and a two-thirds (2/3) majority to spend unanticipated tax revenues (40 votes in the House, 20 in the Senate). In other words, fractions of the Legislature can hold a majority hostage.

Five and two. That’s how many more than a simple majority in the Oregon House and Senate can stop the majority in the Oregon Legislature from eliminating a tax break or fixing an outdated tax code problem like Oregon’s 76 year-old, $10-a-year corporate minimum tax.

Sheketoff thinks the legislature on to refer the 3/5th majority rule back to the voters. I think that's a good start. Further than that we need to send a message to recalcitrant Republicans in the legislature that elections have consequences. I believe an infamous Republican President was the first to make that observation.


Swinebread said...

Lower taxes does not equal better life

Dean Wormer said...


Don Snabulus said...

This is not as bad as the tax ballot initiatives law that requires 50% of the registered voters to approve a bill rather than a simple majority.

The registered voters list likely includes people who have moved or died making it almost impossible for the will of the people to be carried out.

With these two laws, Oregon voters basically voted away their future rights. We are indeed a bunch of gomers.