Oregon city required to accept anti-tax petition

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July 14, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

NEWBERG, Oregon: A circuit court judge in Oregon has required the City of Newberg to accept a referendum petition which would ask citizens to approve local tax increases[1].

Hank Grum, a retired computer programmer, filed a lawsuit after City Attorney Terrence Marr rejected his petition to make tax and fee increases subject to voter approval. Marr argued that the initiative petitions Grum submitted lacked legislative intent. Marr further claimed that the petition was more aimed to bring judgment on city officials who wanted to increase taxes[1].

Ross Day, who is Grum's attorney, argued that he was unfairly treated because other activists who submitted petitions relating to tax increases were certified in different cities around Yamhill County. Circuit Court Judge Cynthia Easterday agreed with Grum's argument. In her opinion, the judge stated: "taxes, fees and charges are all different as to who and how they are imposed. However, they all have a legitimate connection with or relation to one another. They are all actions by the city to generate revenue.” Easterday further stated that Grum's petition was designed with legislative intent by asking Newberg Citizens to approve or deny tax increases[1].

Grum was pleased with the judge's ruling and plans to gather petition signatures as soon as possible[1].

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