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Oregon Property Tax Reduction and Limitation, Measure 47 (1996)

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Ballot Measure 47 was a 1996 initiative in the U.S. state of Oregon. It was approved, increasing the Oregon Constitution's limitations on property taxes on real estate, first imposed by Measure 5.

Measure 47 required that property taxes be no higher than 10% less than those imposed in the 1994-1995 tax year, or those imposed in the 1995-1996 tax year. Thereafter, property taxes increases were to be capped at 3% per year.

Measure 47 also instituted a "double majority" rule, requiring at least a 50% voter turnout for any local tax measure in any election besides the general election in an even-numbered year.

The measure was placed on the ballot by initiative, and was approved by voters in the 5 November 1996 general election, with 704,554 votes in favor, and 642,613 votes against.[1]

The law enacted by Measure 47 was amended in 1997, when the Oregon Legislative Assembly referred Measure 50 to voters.

Election results

Measure 47
Approveda Yes 704,554 52.3%

Ballot Title

  • Amends Constitution: Reduces And Limits Property Taxes; Limits Local Revenues, Replacement Fees

The double majority rule

Measure 47 enacted Oregon’s “double majority” rule, which placed an additional requirement on local tax levies: not only did more voters have to vote "yes" than "no", but at least 50% of registered voters had to vote, unless it was a general election on an even numbered year. (These are U.S. presidential election and midterm elections.) (The double majority is a type of supermajority, similar to an absolute majority.)

The double majority has resulted in the defeat of numerous local tax levies. As an indirect result, local governments now often make sure to place such measures on general election ballots.[2]

In 1998, Measure 53 sought to reverse the double majority provision, but won only 49% of the vote.

In 2007, activists representing schools, the public employee union, and business interests lobbied the Oregon Legislative Assembly to scale back the double majority requirement.[3][4]

Political context

The measure was sponsored by Bill Sizemore and his Oregon Taxpayers United anti-tax group, as part of the Oregon tax revolt. Proponents were upset by rising property tax rates, much of which was brought by increasing housing prices in the Portland, Oregon area. Proponents also wanted to put an end to the perceived practice of placing local levies up for a vote when turnout would be low.

Opponents feared that slices in taxes would cause cuts to schools, further than those they blamed on Measure 5. Furthermore, they opposed the double-majority rule, arguing it gave lazy people more political power than those willing to vote.

There was some confusion as to the actual effect of Measure 47. Petitioners claimed that Measure 47 would cap the actual assessment of properties – that is, the value of the property as determined by the county – to prevent taxes from being raised more than 3% annually. Others claimed that Measure 47 did not prevent such an action. Sizemore placed an argument in the voter's pamphlet in an attempt to clarify the measure's provisions.[5] Nonetheless, the legislature sent Measure 50 to voters the next year to clarify that the cap was on the assessed value of the property as well.

See also

Suggest a link

External link


  1. Election results for Measure 47
  2. Pitkin, James (March 29, 2007). "The taxman cometh". Retrieved on 2007-03-29. 
  3. Wong, Peter (March 27, 2007). "Double-majority rule gets revisited", The Statesman Journal. Retrieved on 2007-04-03. 
  4. JULIA SILVERMAN (6/20/2007). "Double majority poised to head to November, 2008 ballot", The Oregonian, The Associated Press. 
  5. Measure 47: Arguments in Favor

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