OREGON TAXPAYER SURVEY RESULTS
Last Fall, over 2,000 Oregon taxpayers shared their opinions on the best reform ideas being debated around the nation. Here are the results:
Among ideas to restructure Oregon, the highest ranking was the plan to return federal land back to local control. Roughly 93% approved of plan to return up to 2 million acres of federal land back for forest harvesting and recreation to raise a half billion dollars for education. Similar to a Utah plan, this plan would allow counties to use federal land to (1) increase timber harvest (2) create new local parks/recreation/tourist destinations or (3) donate portions to Native American reservations. Roughly, 60% of respondents support the plan that would grant Oregon counties the ability to secede to Idaho, known as the Greater Idaho plan. Voters in nine rural counties have voted yes for the proposal with a few counties having voted no.
POWER TO THE PEOPLE IDEAS
Of the ideas to reform politics and government, the top idea was giving voters the right to vote on new taxes at the county and city level which polled at 91%. 88% said Oregon needs term limits for elected officials, while 81% said Oregon needs an impeachment process for removing statewide public officials (Oregon is the only state in the nation without one). 65% favor creating a Lieutenant Governor position similar to 45 other states. A Lieutenant Governor acts in a ceremonial role and can assume the governor’s powers when the governor is out of the state.
72% said Oregon’s recent legalization of marijuana has been a negative experience so far. Much of the negative experience is over the proliferation of illegal marijuana farms/labor camps in rural Oregon. People want stronger law enforcement. This is why 56% approved of diverting existing marijuana tax proceeds from schools to law enforcement. Current law requires 40% of marijuana tax proceeds to go to schools with another 45% divided up among police, county and city government.
TAXES THAT SHOULD BE REPEALED
71% said Oregon should eliminate the 3% Oregon Public Purpose Charge on electric bills that funds various weatherization and environmental programs. 86% said the Corporate Activities Tax (CAT) should be repealed. This tax levies .57% tax on revenue (not profit) on Oregon companies with over $1 million in revenue. Companies pay the CAT tax even if they don’t generate actual profits.
93% oppose ballot harvesting – which is the practice of collecting large amounts of ballots and turning them in on behalf of voters. Twelve states put limits on the number of ballots a third-party person may collect from a voter. 86% oppose the idea of lowering the voting age to 16.
The most approved idea to address the homeless crisis, at 77% approval, was that cities should clear homeless camps within 72 hours or face lawsuits from private citizens impacted by the camps. This law is in practice in Denver, Colorado. The next most popular idea, at 69%, was the proposal to ban panhandlers from highways and off-ramps. Similar laws have been enacted in Illinois and by cities in Florida. However, respondents did NOT believe the solution to the homelessness crisis comes in the form of subsidized low-income housing, as Multnomah County and Metro are currently handling it. 76% opposed that idea.
LAW ENFORCEMENT & PRIVACY
We asked taxpayers their opinions on three questions surrounding law enforcement. 95% support the Banking Privacy Act, which would forbid banks from giving your private information to the government without a warrant. 70% said a warrant should be required for law enforcement to access a person’s electronic communications, as is now required in Michigan. Another 68% agreed with a bill proposed by Oregon State Senator Fred Girod, that said police should be paid double for riot duty.
86% said NO to whether Oregon should toll high traffic highways to reduce congestion. Should the $3.6 billion being sent to Oregon from Biden’s 2021 infrastructure bill be used to build a new I-5 bridge over the Columbia River? 39% said YES, 37% said NO. On using infrastructure bill funds to support adding lanes to Interstate-5 respondents resoundingly support it with 88% who said YES.
Education has been a hot topic nationwide and in Oregon the past couple of years. If these survey results are any guide, taxpayers are still very dissatisfied with the direction of Oregon’s public education system. 93% want the state to create a publicly searchable database so parents can see what students are being taught, similar to a law passed recently in Pennsylvania. 78% want to be allowed to use their taxpayer funds allocated to education proportionately to enroll their student in the school of their choosing. And 88% believe school curriculum should include the history of atrocities under communist regimes, like the Florida law that just passed.