Friday, November 03, 2006

Ballot Measures - Yay or Nay?

Our next question is about ballot measures. Are there any ballot measures in your state that you feel particularly strongly about? How do you feel about ballot measures in general?

In Oregon, we've got a whole slew of ballot measures to vote on this election. There are two in particular that would be extremely harmful if passed. The gist of them is that state spending can only increase based on population growth and inflation.

At first glance, this might seem to make sense. I mean, why not keep those crazy Democrats from spending willy-nilly on things like schools and health care for poor kids? Okay, sorry about that little snide remark - I do agree that it sounds like a sensible way to keep spending in check.

However...Colorado already tried this with disasterous results. The problem is that the bill doesn't account for the shrinking and growing of the economy at all. What happened in Colorado is that they were toodling along just fine until recession hit. Now, to balance the state budget, spending has to be cut way back. When the economy rebounds, spending can only increase based on the inflation/population-growth formula. In essence, the bill allows you to take 25 steps back, but only two steps forward. Colorado voters actually reversed this measure when they realized what was happening.

Even if Oregon voters think that this measure is a good idea, they should be suspicious of its source. Anyone can put a measure on the Oregon ballot if they get the required signatures, and these particular measures are funded by a billionaire anti-tax activist who doesn't live in the state. Hmm. I think everyone should be suspicious of a billionaire who has made all of his money by taking advantage of all the opportunities this country has given him, and then he turns around and doesn't want to give anything back.

Last weekend in the Opinion section of the paper, there were the usual letters from anti-tax folks talking about the levy measures for schools, parks and libraries on the ballots and how their property taxes keep going up, up, up. They say that the schools, parks and libraries should work with the money that they already have. The problem with this is that the federal government, who used to fund all these things from federal taxes, keeps cutting back. In order to stay alive, local services like these need to beg local taxpayers for money.

Instead of getting mad at the schools and libraries for not managing their money (and I know that libraries are expected to do more with less money all the time because my mom is a library director and has to make those kinds of decisions), people should be getting mad at the federal government for continuing to cut taxes for the wealthy and for big corporations. Their excuse is that it stimulates the economy, and if they don't cut taxes, corporations will take their businesses elsewhere. But how much is too much? When does it stop? Why are multi-million dollar salaries for corporate executives more important than schools? Why does this society seem to be heading down the path of every man for himself, and your life is worth more if you're rich?

Think about what kind of world you want for your children and grandchildren. Then vote accordingly.

End of lecture!


Anonymous Michelle said...

I really believe these are crucial issues that need to be studied carefully. Sometimes just the wording of a sentence or two can turn something that seems like a good idea into a potential disaster. The advertising campaigns are so skewed and misleading that I find myself changing my mind or getting muddled. But when I carefully look at who is opposed to a bill, it helps me see things more clearly. I speak in generalities because, obviously, every state and county has different ballot measures, so just be sure to dig deep when trying to find the truth!

3:01 PM  
Blogger Lavendersheep said...

Personally the ballot measure that really bothers me is Measure 43. The measure says that if an underage girl consults a physician or counselor about having an abortion that her parents must be notified within 48 hours. There are a couple of things that really bother me about this measure. I mean besides the fact that it is an abortion issue. The first being that it very specifically says that there are no exceptions for rape or incest. Meaning that the very people that are abusing a young girl would be informed if she wanted to have an abortion.
The second thing that bothers me is that Oregon already has a law in place that says that children over the age of 15 have a right to choose their own medical care.
Lastly, one of the big arguments for this bill is that a girl needs the support of her family while going through such a traumatic . My view on this is that I am very close to my parents. If I had been in that position I would have talked to my parents myself. I really think that if a child can trust their parents that they will turn to them in their time of need and that the parents will not need a letter to know that their child is thinking about getting an abortion. Overall I hope that this measure will not pass.

8:17 PM  

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