Saturday, July 7, 2012

Bad, good initiatives on Oregon ballot

Once again, Oregon will make national news when a measure to legalize marijuana will be on the ballot, pending signature verification, in November.

More Americans are coming around to the belief that we're probably better off legalizing marijuana.

Of course, legalization opens another can of worms, but keeping "weed" illegal has proven hypocritical and unenforceable.

If the state can make money off of marijuana, like it does alcohol and tobacco, then it's worth doing.

We also have six other measures on the ballot and some are terrible:

1) Abolishing the state estate tax. While this affects only a tiny number of Oregonians, less than 1 percent, it would raise taxes on the 99+ percent. It would also shorten the school year further and diminish public safety. A strong "NO" vote on this one.

2) Banning any future real estate transfer tax or RETT. Oregon doesn't have a RETT and there are no plans to enact one. Still, Realtors would rather see property taxes climb at a faster rate rather than cut into their ridiculous profits. Another big "NO" on this one.

3) Using corporate tax "kicker" for public education. If state revenues, projected two years out, exceed 2 percent, that amount is returned to individuals and corporations. This would end another needless giveaway to corporations and put the money where corporations won't: education. A big "YES" on this one.

4) Banning gill-net fishing on the Columbia River. This would help endangered salmon in the Columbia. Another "YES" vote.

5 and 6) Allowing a non-Native American casino in Portland. I view Indian casinos as a small payback for all the grief non-natives have caused them. If non-natives want to throw away their money at Indian casinos, go ahead. But, we don't need any more casinos in Oregon. A definite "NO" vote.

The good news is that 33 initiatives failed to get enough signatures to qualify for the ballot. Less is more.

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