vote-2016

With ballots making their way to voters, the Keizertimes took a look at some of the major issues and the local candidates in contested races. We are not endorsing any of these measures or candidates in this article, merely presenting a look at the issues and potential effects.

STATE MEASURES

Measure 97

A “yes” vote would increase Oregon’s corporate minimum tax when sales exceed $25 million, removes tax limits and increase revenues available for education, healthcare and senior services.

A “no” vote retains existing tax minimums, including a cap of $100,000.

The measure would generate approximately $3 billion per year for every fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017. Opponents say some of the costs would be passed on to Oregon consumers in the form of higher prices on some consumer goods. Supporters claim that the measure is a way to ensure large businesses pay their fair share.

While the measure earmarks revenues for three aforementioned areas, attorneys for the state Legislature have said that those could be altered with budget bill amendments that do not require a public vote.

Measure 98

A “yes” vote would require the state to fund drop-out prevention and career- and college-readiness programs. A “no” vote maintains the status quo.

Essentially, the measure would require the state Legislature to provide $800 per student to establish or expand high school programs providing career-technical education, college-level courses, and dropout-prevention strategies. School districts would apply for grants based on need and the Oregon Department of Education would monitor outcomes. The measure would require an additional $147 million annually to be committed to the resulting programs, but does not generate additional income – leaving it to the Legislature to determine future funding.

Measure 96

A “yes” vote would dedicate 1.5 percent of state lottery proceeds to veterans services including employment assistance, education and housing and physical/mental health care. A “no” vote would not earmark the revenues for these purposes.

Currently, about 67 percent of state lottery funds are undedicated, this measure would earmark revenues for veterans services and potentially increase Oregon’s competitiveness for federal matching funds.

Measure 94

A “yes” vote would amend the state constitution and eliminate mandatory retirement at age 75 for state judges. A “no” vote would retain the mandatory retirement age.

Measure 95

A “yes” vote would allow public universities to invest in equities, stock or securities representing ownership interest. A “no” vote prevents the institutions from investing in equities.

The Oregon Legislature already approved such investments in 2013, but a provision in the Oregon Constitution may prohibit it.

Measure 99

A “yes” vote creates a dedicated fund for outdoor school education fund with revenues from the Oregon State Lottery. The goal would be providing outdoor programming to every fifth – and sixth-grade student in the state.  A “no” vote will keep the outdoor school programs funded as funds are available.

The fund would be created with 4 percent of quarterly transfers from the state lottery, or about $5.5 million per quarter, with a cap of $22 million. The dedicated fund would not affect other education programs funded through the lottery.  About 67 percent of state lottery funds are currently undedicated

Measure 100

A “yes” vote would prohibit the purchase or sale of products – with the exception of specific activities, inheritances, certain antiques and musical instruments – and imposes penalties up to $6,500 for doing so. A “no” vote would continue to allow the sale of the same items unless the species are native to Oregon.

Species affected include: elephant, rhinoceros, whale, tiger, lion, leopard, cheetah, jaguar, pangolin, sea turtle, shark (expect for fins) and ray.

LOCAL MEASURES AND CANDIDATES

Measure No. 24-397

A “yes” vote would impose a 3 percent city tax on sales of recreational marijuana within Keizer. A “no” vote rejects the tax.

City officials have been reticent to offer projections on how much the tax might generate in revenue and the funds are not earmarked for specific purposes.

According to mjbizdaily.com, a marijuana industry trade publication, the average annual revenue reported by dispensaries and recreational sales shops was $974 per square foot. Even with a modest estimate of 500 square foot per business, the city stands to reap about $44,000 per year on the sales of Keizer’s three operating marijuana retailers.

Revenue per square foot is a measure of how efficiently a retailer uses space.

Measure No. 24-405

A “yes” vote would allow recreational marijuana businesses to set up shop in unincorporated areas (outside city limits) of Marion County. A “no” vote would only allow such businesses inside city limits. Allowing such businesses in specific cities would remain the domain of city councils and voters.

The measure was bankrolled by the Oregon Cannabis Business Council.

Measure 24-406

A “yes” vote imposes a 3 percent tax on recreational sales of medical marijuana in Marion County. A “no” vote rejects the tax.

Revenues from the tax are not earmarked for a particular project or service.

Keizer City Council

Position 1

Allen Barker and Laura Reid are seeking the same chair on the Keizer City Council.

Barker is a retiree with experience in construction and financial services and is currently a volunteer on the city’s budget committee.

Laura Reid has taught at McNary High School since 2001. This is her first foray into public service aside from volunteering in community-based organizations.

For more information on both candidates and their positions, visit www.keizertimes.com.

Marion Soil & Water Conservation District Director, At Large #1

The district director position has earned the interest of two candidates, Stephanie Hazen and Scott Walker. Soil &Water District officials manage natural resources on the local level with an eye toward conservation and enhancement of what is available.

Hazen is a retired veterinarian and business owner with no prior public service experience, but has taken an active role as a volunteer with the water district. She and her husband have undertaken the task of converting large swaths of their rural property into native habitats.

Walker served as the associate director of the water district for the past 18 months. He is a retired statistician and program evaluator with the state of Michigan. His interest in the issues the water district tackles began with degrading wells in his own neighborhood and winter water storage was an emphasis during his time as a Silverton city councilor.