The comparison of measures 66 and 67 with measures 28 and 30 was the first attempt to gain some perspective on what happened Tuesday. Taking a longer term view is another attempt.
The passage of measures 66 and 67, being the first tax increase passed by Oregon voters since 1930, could be a watershed event. The passage of Measure 5 in 1990 certainly was a watershed event. These two events bear some comparison.
Counties voting in favor of 1990′s Measure 5 (Property Tax Limitation) are in green. Those voting against are in tan.
The county-by-county votes for measures 66 and 67 are at this post: http://lindholmcompanyblog.com/?p=2351
In might appear strange to compare measures 20 years apart, and to compare what some think is the ultimate arch conservative measure in recent Oregon history, Measure 5, and what some others think are the arch liberal ones, measures 66 and 67, but the county-by-county vote pattern for Measure 5 is similar to the pattern for measures 66 and 67. Most of the supportive counties were in northwest Oregon.
First,I’ll look at the geographic similarities. One key similarity, the measures were all rejected in eastern Oregon.
Also, in both measures, Portland’s Tri-County region passed the measure. The yes margin from Tri-County as a percentage of the total margin:
Measure 66: 103% (Multnomah 95%)
Measure 67: 123% (Multnomah 116%)
Measure 5: 115% (Multnomah 45%)
In all three cases the measures won in Tri-County and overcame the “no” vote from the rest of the state.
One difference between the two elections was how Multnomah County compares with the rest of the state. In the case of measures 66 and 67, Multnomah’s was so strongly in favor that matched its fifth of the voters the other four-fifths from the rest of the state. However, in the case of 1990′s Measure 5, Multnomah only accounted for 45% of the Measure 5 margin. Still a big deal, but less that half the influence.
Another difference is how Benton and Lane, two of the strongest yes counties for measures 66 and 67, opposed Measure 5. Though Benton has become much more liberal in the past 20 years, Lane always was pretty liberal.
Together, these similarities and differences imply that there are two distinct factors driving the votes: an economic and an ideological. The ideological difference is simply that Measure 5 reduced a tax and measures 66 and 67 increased taxes. This is a Democratic vs. Republican divide, etc.
The economic side of the issue helps define the difference between the Tri-County area and the other parts of the state. First, all three measures increased the relative funding for the state government over local governments leading to an increased centralization of power. The Measure 5 property tax reduction shifted relative funding away from local entities and to the state. Measures 66 and 67 increased state taxes such that local governments won’t be able to tax that money.
Second, all three measures increased the overall progressivity of Oregon’s tax system measure 5 by shifting from a regressive property tax to a more progressive income tax and measures 66 and 67, by increasing the progressivity of the personal and corporate income taxes.
There are other economic implications of both votes that are similar, such as regarding the overall volatility of state revenue, etc. These seem more remote from voters, however.
The implications of the results of this election are just beginning to appear. There will certainly be much more on this topic in the coming months and years.
Source of data: Oregon Secretary of State. The vote counts for measures 66 and 67 are based on the January 27, 2010, 4:41 AM Oregon Secretary of State Update.