Pamplin Media Group state endorsements
It's become an unhappy tradition, marked every other fall, to declare that the current election is one of the most expensive and negative in recent memory.
Sadly, 2018 proved no exception in Oregon.
The two top candidates in the marquee event, the governor's race, are on pace to spend $18.7 million, which will surpass the $17.7 spent in 2010 when John Kitzhaber beat Chris Dudley.
And, as noted by Portland Tribune reporter Paris Achen, both campaigns have used scare tactics and misleading messages.
Watching the television commercials, you'd think Gov. Kate Brown crafts her child welfare policies from a gingerbread house and Knute Buehler takes his political advice from Donald Trump.
This election is not, and should not, be a referendum on dysfunctional dramas playing out on the Potomac. It is a chance to shape the policies and choose the policymakers who will help lead our communities and states for years to come.
Fortunately, there is plenty of good information available on all these contests. Below is recap of our endorsements, but we encourage you to grab your voters pamphlet, pick up your local paper, log-on to news sites and educate yourself.
The governor's race features two capable politicians who differ on significant issues and leadership style. Gov. Brown, who stepped into the job during a political crises, has done an admirable job, but struggled to force her fellow Democrats (who control both legislative chambers) to make tough decisions on key issues such as education funding and pension reform. Our nod goes to Rep. Knute Buehler, a social moderate who has the potential to find the elusive middle ground in the sharply-partisan statehouse
State Ballot Measures:
Allows local governments to leverage bond money for affordable housing
This measure, referred to the ballot by state lawmakers, may seem like a simple housekeeping measure, but it's actually very important. Oregon's constitutions requires general obligation bonds to be used directly to pay for capital projects. This makes sense when you need a new road or school, but not housing. This measure would allow local governments to more easily and efficiently partner with non-profits and developers to stretch tax dollars used for much-needed affordable housing throughout the state.
Bans future taxes on food and food-related industries
If you want proof of the downside of Oregon's easy access to the ballot, this measure is Exhibit A. Masquerading as a means to protect consumers from a phantom sales tax on groceries, this is actually a special-interest ploy to pre-empt another gross-receipts tax from reaching the food industry. We opposed the last gross-receipts tax and would certainly resist any effort to tax food, but we don't believe in changing the constitution to protect a specific industry.
Requires 3/5 vote to raise fees
Here's another example of a solution in search of a problem. Oregon's constitution already requires a 3/5 vote in the state legislature to raise taxes. This measures purports to protect Oregonians from sneaky end-runs around that law by classifying taxes as fees. There's no examples of this actually happening, and this law would give lobbyists extra leverage while needlessly bogging down legislative sessions every time an agency needs to adjust fees for everything from fishing licenses to health care accreditations.
Repeals Oregon's Sanctuary Law
Oregon was one of the first state's in the nation to pass a law ensuring that state and local police agencies stay out of the immigration enforcement business. The legislation was in response to disturbing cases of local police forces engaging in racial profiling of non-white individuals. No one, including the police chiefs and sheriffs in Oregon's largest cities and counties, want to go back to those days.