In an earlier blog, we mentioned two referenda that were circulating in hopes of getting on the 2010 special election ballot. Today the Elections Division has announced that both the petitions referring both HB 2649 and HB 3405 to voters have indeed received the required amount of signatures to qualify for the ballot.
Measure 66, which will refer HB 2649 to voters gathered 98,842 valid signatures, plenty to satisfy the constitutional requirement of 55,179 needed. HB 2649, which passed in the 2009 Legislative session, concerns the State’s personal income tax.
The other referendum, now titled Measure 67 received 99,471 valid signatures, a full 80.7% of the 123,324 signatures accepted for verification. The measure will refer HB 3405, a bill which pertains to corporate income taxes, to Oregon’s voters.
This is hardly the first time that the ‘Oregon System‘ has been used to give Oregon’s voters the opportunity to repeal enrolled legislation, but it will be the first time since 2004 that Oregon has voted on statewide referenda.
To be eligible to vote on these referenda Oregonians will need to be
registered to vote no later than January 5, 2010. Please contact our Elections division with questions about getting registered.
In most years, the humble referendum pales in popularity to its gregarious cousin the citizen initiative.
Since 1902, the citizen initiative has given birth to all kinds of changes to our social and political structure, including the vote for women, mandated seat belt use and reworking of our tax structure. There have been 348 initiatives on Oregon ballots and we’ve passed 118 of them.
The referendum doesn’t always have the same dramatic flare or occasional high profile. But it allows citizens to repeal an action by the Legislature, a vital check on our State government. In the last century, we have voted on 62 referenda, the most recent referendum in 2004 when voters rejected a temporary tax increase.
This year, however, petitioners are circulating petitions that could place four different referenda before voters next year. Referenda being circulated would refer HB 2649 (personal income tax) and HB 3405 (corporate income tax) to a special election held on January 26, 2010. Two other referenda would refer to voters HB 2001 (transportation funding and gas tax) and HB 2010 (health care provider tax) to the May 2010 primary ballot.
To qualify for the ballot, a referendum needs the signatures of 4 percent of the number of voters who cast ballots in the most recent gubernatorial election. That translates to signatures from 55,179 registered Oregon voters.
The deadline for all four of the petition drives is 5 p.m. on Sept. 26.