Oregon Higher Education Funds, Measure 69 (May 2010)

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Oregon Higher Education Funds, Measure 69 appeared on the May 18, 2010 ballot in the state of Oregon as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment where it was approved.[1][2][3]

The measure proposed authorizing the state to acquire, construct, improve, repair, equip and furnish buildings, structures, land and other projects, or parts thereof, that the legislative assembly determines will benefit higher education institutions or activities.[4][5][6][7]

Election results

Measure 69
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 546,649 71.66%
No216,15728.34%
Election results from Oregon Blue Book website

According to Oregon Secretary of State Kate Brown the voter turnout exceeded her 37% prediction. The primary election resulted in a 41% voter turnout.[8][9]

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title that appeared on the ballot read:[10]

Amends Constitution: Continues and modernizes authority for lowest cost borrowing for community colleges and public universities.

Result of "Yes" Vote: “Yes” vote continues and modernizes state authority to issue lowest cost bonds to finance projects for the benefit of community colleges and public universities.

Result of "No" Vote: “No” vote rejects modernization of authority to issue lowest cost bonds to finance projects for the benefit of community colleges and public universities.

Summary

According to the Oregon Secretary of State's office the ballot summary read as follows:

This measure continues and modernizes the state’s authority to use general obligation bonds, the lowest cost method of borrowing, to finance projects for community colleges and public universities. It does not increase the current limit on borrowing. The measure clarifies that community colleges and public universities may purchase existing buildings with the proceeds of general obligation bonds. It also allows the Oregon University System to use nontax revenues to determine whether bonds to be issued under Article XI-F(1) are self-supporting. The measure allows Article XI-F(1) and XI-G bond proceeds to be used for the same parts of a project and to be used for mixed-use projects that benefit higher education. It allows nontax revenues to be used as matching funds for Article XI-G bond proceeds.[10]

Financial impact

According to the financial impact statement that appeared on the ballot there is "no financial effect on either state or local government expenditures or revenues."[10]

Support

Weeks before the May 18 election, Oregon teachers unions announced their support for Measure 68 and 69. Also supporting Measure 69 was the Oregon Attorney General, the Oregon University System, the Oregon Treasurer, the Governor of Oregon and Rep. Chris Harker. In an editorial, Harper said,"...strong public universities contribute to strong businesses."[11]

Arguments

  • Oregon Board of Education and Portland School Board member Bobbie Regan said, "Right now you have certain districts that are very property-tax poor, or you have rural school districts where the possibility of investing and rebuilding schools or adding a wing if they needed to is nearly impossible, because the State really doesn’t provide for any kind of funding to speak of for capital expenditures." Reagan argued that the funds would be extremely helpful to schools and local communities.[12]
  • Oregon Community College Association executive director Andrea Henderson said, "It gives colleges greater flexibility to make a decision that's best for the area and its taxpayers." Henderson added,"Legislature has been supportive of capital construction at community colleges lately because of the sharp surge in demand for the schools' roles in the workforce."[13]
  • Rep. Chris Harker said, in an editorial that appeared in The Times,"If we want the universities to operate more efficiently and to be more business-like, we need to let them use their limited resources wisely. That means granting them access to low-cost funding and Measure 69 is a tool to do just that."[14]

Donors

According to the state campaign finance database, ORESTAR, the main PAC contributing to the campaign was the Safe and Healthy Schools Committee. An account summary for the campaign committee in 2010 can be viewed below.

Note: Safe and Healthy Schools Committee supported both Measures 68 and 69. The summary posted below includes ALL received contributions, expenditures and total cash balance for 2010 for the committee.

Safe & Healthy Schools Committee 2010 summary
Type Dollar amount
Received contributions[15] $16,685.00
Expenditures[15] $12,585.00
Cash balance[15] $4,100.00

Below is a chart that outlines major cash contributions to Safe and Healthy Schools Committee:[16]

Contributor Amount Type
Our Oregon $5,385.00 In-Kind
Oregon Education Association $2,500.00 Cash
School Employees Exercising Democracy $2,500.00 Cash
School Employees Exercising Democracy $1,200.00 In-Kind
Stand for Children $1,500.00 Cash
American Federation of Teachers-Oregon Issue PAC $2,400.00 Cash
AFT-Oregon $1,200.00 In-Kind

Opposition

Measure 68 did not have an organized opposition. However, in a Oregon Public Broadcasting report Sen. Doug Whitsett said he worried that school districts might make projects too large. Opponents said they worried that Measures 68 and 69 could make the state's financial situation worse than it already was.[17]

Donors

According to ORESTAR there was no registered committee in opposition to Measure 69.

Media editorial positions

Main article: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures, 2010

Support

  • The Oregonian supported Measure 69. "Measure 69, meanwhile, would allow universities access to lower-cost financing to purchase existing buildings. As it stands, the Oregon University System is allowed to use low-cost general obligation bonds to pay only for new facilities, not acquiring existing buildings. In urban settings, such as Portland State University, virtually all expansion involves the purchase of existing buildings. By allowing the higher ed system to use the lowest-cost financing, passage of Measure 69 would save taxpayer dollars."[18]
  • Mail Tribune supported Measure 69. "Measure 69 makes a common-sense change in the rules governing how state colleges and universities may pay for expansion...Measure 69 does not increase the amount of debt colleges may incur, and the law still requires the Oregon University System to have enough money in its budget to pay for the bonds...Rising enrollment means colleges and universities need more space. It only makes sense for them to acquire it in the least expensive way possible," said the editorial board.[19]
  • The Daily Astorian supported Measure 69. In an editorial the board said,"Ballot measures referred by the Oregon Legislature are the least noticed elements on the May ballot. Measures 68 and 69 are relatively benign constitutional amendments...We recommend a 'yes' vote."[20]
  • The Statesman Journal supported Measure 69. In an editorial the board said,"This measure doesn't promote profligate spending. It still requires that a college act conservatively in ensuring it will have the money to repay the debt. General obligation bonds are the least expensive for government to issue, because they are backed by the 'full faith and credit' of the state. Measure 69 could save colleges money in two ways. First, it affirms the use of such lower-cost bonds in these settings. Second, it prevents expensive lawsuits in case someone wants to challenge a decades-long practice in court. Measure 69 deserves a 'yes' vote."[21][22]
  • The Yakima Valley News-Register supported measures 68 and 69. In an editorial, the board said,"Yes on both Measures 68 and 69: Measure 68 would revise the Oregon Constitution to let voters approve local district bonds for an expanded definition of school capital costs, and for the state to use revenue from the sale of the bonds to help pay for local school capital costs. Measure 69 would continue the state’s authority to use general obligation bonds to finance projects for community colleges and public universities. Neither measure has a financial effect on state or local operating expenditures or revenue."[23]

Path to the ballot

See also: Oregon legislatively-referred constitutional amendment laws

According to Section 1, Article XVIII of the Oregon Constitution it took a majority vote of both chambers of the Oregon State Legislature to place the amendment proposed by the legislature on the statewide ballot.

See also

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News Articles

External links

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Additional reading

References

  1. The Oregonian,"Voters approve Measures 68 and 69," May 18, 2010
  2. Associated Press,"Oregon voters OK ballot measures on school bonds," May 18, 2010
  3. The Chronicle,"2 States Approve Measures That Will Benefit Higher Education," May 19, 2010
  4. Oregon Legislature,"HJR 101 full text," retrieved March 10, 2010
  5. The Dalles Chronicle,"Voters have two statewide measures," April 26, 2010
  6. The Oregonian,"Two school, college bonding measures on Oregon's May primary ballot," May 1, 2010
  7. The Register-Guard,"Measures address school funding," May 3, 2010
  8. Washington Secretary of State: From Our Corner,"Secretary of State Kate Brown Cheers 41 Percent Turnout," retrieved May 20, 2010
  9. Washington Secretary of State: From Our Corner,"Frisky Oregonians top 41 percent turnout," May 19, 2010
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 OregonVotes.org,"Measure 69 text," retrieved May 4, 2010
  11. Blue Oregon,"Measure 69: Get the Economy Moving Again," March 1, 2010
  12. The Oregon Politico,"Teachers unions urge support for education ballot measures," April 30, 2010
  13. The Daily Astorian,"Ballot measures seek to lighten financial load on schools," May 5, 2010
  14. The Times,"Soapbox: Measure 69 will save money for taxpayers, universities, students," May 6, 2010
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 ORESTAR,"Safe and Healthy Schools Committee PAC information," retrieved May 6, 2010
  16. ORESTAR,"Safe and Healthy Schools Committee: Campaign transactions," retrieved May 17, 2010
  17. Oregon Public Broadcasting,"Ballot Measure Would Allow State To Provide Schools Capital Project Funds," April 19, 2010
  18. The Oregonian,"Election 2010: Yes on Measures 68, 69," April 23, 2010
  19. Mail Tribune,"Measures 68 and 69: Yes," April 28, 2010
  20. The Daily Astorian,"'Yes' on measures 68 and 69," May 3, 2010
  21. Statesman Journal,"Measure 69 would save colleges money," May 11, 2010
  22. Statesman Journal,"SJ Editorial Board's endorsements," May 12, 2010
  23. News-Register,"Editorial: Ballot measures, state races draw end-of-campaign focus," May 1, 2010