Oregon Voters Could Decide Fate Of Business Tax In January Special Election

Jun 12, 2019

Oregon voters could decide the fate of a new business tax during a special election in January. That’s according to an amendment approved Wednesday in the Senate Rules Committee.

Opponents to the tax, which is meant to fund schools, have several months to gather enough signatures to force a vote. If that vote occurs, Democrats say they want to know the outcome as soon as possible. Normally the vote would take place during the November 2020 general election. This proposal would move the tax vote up to January of 2020.

Senate Rules Committee chair, Sen. Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said it would allow lawmakers to react quickly during the February legislative session if the tax fails. “There’s a great urgency in getting it resolved one way or the other,” she said.

Republicans on the panel objected, with Sen.Brian Boquist, R-Dallas, accusing Democrats of "usurping the bill of the people" by moving a potential election date to January.

The committee vote came the same day that the group trying to refer the tax to voters announced a million dollar contribution from a Linn County timber executive.