Measure 63

Argument in Favor

Opposition to Measure 63 is about Money, not Safety.

Cities and Counties oppose Measure 63, because they rake in a lot of revenue from permit fees and want to protect their revenue stream.

Government employee unions oppose Measure 63, because if the measure passes and homeowners can make minor improvements without a building permit, fewer building inspectors will be needed and public employee unions will lose members.

Big contractors oppose Measure 63, because they want the permit process to be complicated and intimidating. If the process was easy, more homeowners would undertake small remodeling projects on their own and contractors would lose business.

It's all about money. A lot of special interests have a vested interest in maintaining the current system.

Will opponents come out and tell you that they oppose Measure 63 because they will lose money if it passes and you become free to make improvements to your property without consulting your local bureaucracy? Of course not. That won't "sell".

They won't tell you that they want to keep you trapped in the current system, because they make money off the complexities of the permit process. So, what will they say?

They will try to scare you. They will say Measure 63 is about safety. Safety! Safety! Safety! That's all they will say. They will tell you that their real goal is keep you safe (from yourself).

Before you fall for their fear tactics, read Measure 63 for yourself. It's in your Voters Pamphlet). You will see that Measure 63 provides all of the reasonable safeguards one would prudently expect.

Opponents of Measure 63 know the only way they can defeat this popular measure is to frighten you. But their opposition to Measure 63 is not about your safety. It is all about money, your money. And how they can keep taking it from you.

Ask yourself this simple question: Will I be freer if Measure 63 passes, or if it fails?

(This information furnished by Richard P. Burke, Americans for Prosperity - Oregon, Dir. of Grass Roots Development.)

Argument in Favor

Support Measure 63

Several large remodeling contractors have joined forces to oppose Measure 63. Even though they claim they oppose the measure for alleged "safety reasons", their real motivation is to protect their businesses, knowing homeowners will need them less, if they are not forced to negotiate the complexities of the permit process.

Nonetheless, let's talk about safety. Is it possible that some homeowners will do shoddy work on their own homes? Of course. Some homeowners do shoddy work, with or without permits. A building permit is no guarantee of quality work. Local governments do not guarantee the work they inspect and approve.

The truth is, one can logically support Measure 63 precisely for safety reasons. The challenges of the current permit process keep a lot of people from repairing existing unsafe conditions. Unsafe conditions continue simply because homeowners are afraid to do the work without a permit and too intimidated by the process to apply for one.

Voters should know that Measure 63 contains several important safeguards. You can't build a new house or add a second story under Measure 63's permit exemption. This provision reasonably implies an approved, preexisting sanitation system, as well as a preexisting plumbing and electrical system.

Under Measure 63, new wiring must be done by licensed electrical contractors or approved by one, so the potential for bad wiring is about the same under Measure 63 as under existing law. After all, the state has already certified that a licensed electrician knows what he or she is doing.

Measure 63 also maintains existing property line setback requirements, so your neighbor will not be able to build too close to your property line. This is important.

Here's the part we like best, if you market your home, you have to make full disclosure of all unpermitted remodeling to any prospective buyer, so the buyer can have it professionally inspected, if they wish.

(This information furnished by Bill Sizemore, Oregon Taxpayers United.)

Argument in Favor

Why Big Contractors Oppose Measure 63

The building permit process in Oregon can be complicated and intimidating. Consequently, many homeowners are understandably afraid of it.

To get a permit, even for small jobs, detailed drawings and plans are often required. In fact, negotiating the permit process can take longer than the actual work.

When city or county inspectors get involved, a small home improvement project, which one person could do in a weekend, becomes a big deal when it requires multiple permits and multiple visits from one or more building and/or electrical inspectors.

Small remodeling jobs cost far more and take much longer than necessary due to the complexities of the permit process, and things can quickly go from bad to worse if you happen to get one of those inspectors who got up on the wrong side of the bed the day he visited your project.

You might think that everyone in the home improvement field would support Measure 63, which allows minor improvements without a building permit. But, believe it or not, there are companies that want the process to remain complicated and intimidating. The more difficult it is to make improvements to your home, the more you need their services.

Big contractors are funding the campaign against Measure 63 because the current system creates business for them. The simple truth is, if you don't need a building permit for minor remodeling jobs, then you may not need their help as much either.

Will the contractors admit this? Of course not! Instead, they will respond by doing what has become standard fare in Oregon politics: They will try to scare you into voting "No." They will tell you that it is unsafe to make improvements without a permit even though thousands of people—people just like you and me—do it all the time.

(This information furnished by Tim Rohrer, Oregon Tax Payers United.)

Argument in Favor

Liberty or Bureaucracy

Imagine that one Saturday morning you turn to your spouse and say, "I feel like putting on some grubbies and going outside and tearing off that sagging, rotten porch and rebuilding it before someone falls through the floor and gets hurt."

With pencil in hand, you make your list of materials and an hour later you are off to Home Depot or Lowes to get everything you need to rebuild your rotten, sagging porch.

Two or three sweaty days later, the job is done, your house looks better and your porch is a lot safer.

As good as this sound, this picture is a far cry from the way things really are.

You are not actually free to replace your rotten, sagging, unsafe porch just because you want to. The government has to give you permission every step of the way.

First, you have to create drawings of your new porch or perhaps have them professionally prepared.

Next you have to visit your county planner, take a number, fill out a permit application, and then wait for your turn so a planner can review your drawings and hope they will be approved on your first try. Oh, don't forget to pay your fee.

Next stop is the electrical inspectors. Because your porch has a light, you will also need to pay for an electrical permit. Now, you can actually commence work. Beware, however, you may have to stop and wait, sometimes for days, for the various inspectors to show up and give you permission to continue to the next phase, or if you caught one of them on a bad day, possibly make you tear out something you did and redo it.

Two or three weeks later, you have your new porch.

Now, please reread the first three paragraphs of this statement and decide for yourself which approach you prefer, liberty or bureaucracy, because that's what Measure 63 is really about.

(This information furnished by Tim Rohrer, Oregon Tax Payers United.)

Argument in Favor

Government Takes No Responsibility for Permitted Work

When building permits were first created, they applied only to large public buildings. A citizen was free to construct his own house however he wished. After all, it was his house.

Later, minor restrictions began to be placed on residential housing, primarily to prevent the spread of catastrophic fires in large metropolitan areas, where houses were constructed entirely of wood and often were built right up to property lines. (Which is why Measure 63 maintains existing property line setbacks for new improvements.)

Over time, building codes grew into bureaucratic monstrosities and today are more complex than the U.S. tax code, specifying every tiny detail of construction, right down to the smallest plumbing fitting.

Today, almost no one knows everything that's in the codes and even experts disagree on how to interpret them. Permits are now required to build even a small deck on the backside of your house or to move a light switch to the other side of the door or to move a utility sink to another wall. Sometimes you need multiple permits for one small project.

Building permits have become a primary source of government funding. But what do you really get for your money, besides increased costs and major delays in completing your project?

Truth is, after your city or county inspector has signed off on your project, government takes no responsibility for the outcome. None!

If your entire house slides off the hillside or your deck collapses after they've approved it, they assume no liability whatsoever. They simply take your permit money and walk away.

Is it really worth a $100, $250, or $500 permit fee to have someone from the government look over your shoulder while you work?

After all, if government assumes no liability for work it inspects and approves, maybe getting the bureaucracy's permission to make minor improvements to you own home is not really all that necessary.

(This information furnished by Tim Rohrer, Oregon Tax Payers United.)

Argument in Favor

Burying You in Voters' Pamphlet Arguments

The other side obviously has tons of money to spend. Not only are they spending millions of dollars on television and radio ads, they also are trying to bury you in voters pamphlet arguments.

Opponents of this measure have called in lots of political favors and submitted dozens of voters' pamphlet arguments in all kind of names.

Their arguments say pretty much the same thing over and over. They just have different people saying the same thing repeatedly. Their strategy is to impress you with how many people or groups agree with their side.

I hope you will think about their strategy. Instead of being impressed with the volume of words and paper they are throwing at you, consider the strong, reasoned arguments we have put forward. Please do not be impressed with their multitude of words or their emotional pleas.

Even if we had as much money as our opponents, we would not spend it buying more voters' pamphlet arguments than a reasonable person would read.

You might want to consider this simple fact: Every argument in the voters' pamphlet cost the state several thousand dollars more to print and distribute than the ones making the arguments actually pay to have their statement included. Taxpayers are hugely subsidizing every argument printed in this pamphlet, including this one.

We have made our case concisely and we hope you find it persuasive. And please take note that we did not need to buy 30 to 50 pages in the voters' pamphlet to do so.

(This information furnished by Tim Rohrer, Oregon Tax Payers United.)