Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The Tally For and Against M48

As Chuck Sheketoff notes over at Blue Oregon, the voters' guide has gone to press for the military and overseas electorate, and of particular interest is the set of arguments for and against Measure 48, the TABOR-style spending limit abomination foisted onto the Oregon ballot by Howard Rich and a cast of fraudulent signature-gatherers. This morning in Spanning the State Carla asked, "Is TABOR really polling at 62% or is this just some demonic wishful thinking on the part of Matt Evans?"

Comparing the stacks of yea and nay statements doesn't necessarily give you a predictable barometer of what the chances are for passage, but I've rarely if ever seen a comparison that is this unbalanced on the "No" side (there are often measures that garner a lot of support and no paid opposition).

The first thing you notice on the M48 page is that the "Yes" statements take up one HTML link and a 22 page pdf. Since it won't take long, let me run down for you the people and organizations behind them. First and foremost is the Taxpayers' Association of Oregon, which bankrolled seven of the 11 "Yes" statements. Several were written by honcho Jason Williams, although Chief Petitioner Don McIntire wrote a couple and so did head M48 lawyer Eric Winters. There are also two paid for by the Rainy Day Amendment Committee.

That leaves two statements, one paid for by Paul Farago, erstwhile backer of the other right-wing handjob measure, term limits (M45), and the sole non-M48-cabal writer: Jim Haynes, of the Oregon Business Roundtable Committee. Let me recap that for you: just 11 statements in favor, only one of which did not come directly from the progenitors of M48 itself. Talk about grass roots support!

Over four times as many statements were registered against the initiative, and while the vast majority are paid for by the "Defend Oregon Coalition," which (I believe) is a union-backed arm of the policy shop Our Oregon, they represent a wide variety of Oregon businesses and organizations. Here's a pretty good sampling if not an exhaustive list of the different groups who submitted a "No" statement:

  • Governor Kulongoski
  • Senator Wyden
  • Twenty-five Oregon mayors, from Estacada to Tigard, Hermiston to Maupin, Independence to Beaverton. (Although not Tom Potter...WTF?)
  • Kristi Hargrove, Colorado mom (and now activist) who saw what CO-TABOR did to her state
  • Oregon Education Association
  • AARP Oregon
  • Oregon PTA
  • OR Firefighters Council
  • Four rural county (Lincoln, Umatilla, Douglas and Wasco) sherriffs
  • OR State Police Officers' Association
  • Seven OR university presidents
  • Oregon Consumer League
  • OR League of Women Voters
  • Oregon AFSCME
  • Oregon Medical Association
  • Oregon Library Association
  • The Chalkboard Project
  • Intel, HP, and three other prominent state businesses
  • Beaverton and Hillsboro Chambers of Commerce
  • Former goobernatorial candidate Pete Sorenson
  • OR Association of Realtors
  • Oregon Food Bank
  • Oregon Nurses Association
  • 10 School Board members from around the state
  • A host of senior advocacy groups under the OR State Council for Retired Citizens umbrella
  • Oregon Federation of Teachers
  • Oregon School Employees Asssociation
  • Five county District Attorneys
  • Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon
  • The Oregon BUSINESS ASSOCIATION (yes, you read that right)
  • SEIU Local 43
  • A gaggle of national and state health care advocacy organizations like the American Cancer and Heart Associations
  • OR State Building and Construction Trades Council
  • OR Correctional Employees, Parole and Probation Officers
That's a lot of groups, with a fair bit of diversity--unions, educators, health care workers, law enforcement workers, business organizations, firefighters, builders, seniors... based on that tally, who really supports Measure 48? The people who got it onto the ballot obviously, plus a couple of hangers-on from other measures and previous attempts to drown Oregon's government in the bathtub--but that's about it. And who's arrayed against it? I don't see circus workers and pimps on the list, but they're about the only ones not represented in some way. We won't rest on our laurels and declare M48 dead--not by any means--but it's definitely heartening to see such a broad coalition tell Oregonians that M48 is something we can't afford now, and REALLY can't afford later.