Oregonians worried about ballot title bias

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October 18, 2009

SALEM, Oregon: Oregonians are worried about possible ballot title bias regarding two tax measures scheduled to appear on the January 26, 2010 ballot.[1] Just last week the Oregon Legislature announced that they are preparing to write ballot titles for Measure 66 and Measure 67, which directly challenge two tax bills - House Bill 2649 and House Bill 3405. Gov. Ted Kulongoski signed the bills on July 20, 2009. The tax bills increase taxes in the state by $733 million through increasing the state’s corporate minimum tax, raising taxes on the state’s high-income individuals and raising income taxes on businesses.[2] However, Oregonians said that they are concerned about the appointed special panel that will be writing the ballot titles. The panel consists of four Democratic members and two Republicans. Democratic legislators have in the past spoken in favor of the tax increases and argue that they are necessary to balance the state budget. Tax critics worry that this will result in a biased ballot title. If a problem does arise once the ballot titles have been written the language can be appealed to the Oregon Supreme Court.[3] Senate President Peter Courtney said, "The committee will write a ballot title that will make it clear to voters what they are voting on."[1]

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* Oregon Measure 66 (2010)