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Measure 50

Argument in Opposition

Protect Oregon's Constitution - Vote No on Measure 50

As a constitutional scholar and law school professor, I have serious concerns about Measure 50.

A constitution is supposed to define and limit the powers of government and safeguard the most basic rights of a people in a democracy. Measure 50, which will go before Oregon's voters this November, serves neither of these objectives. In fact Measure 50 will limit the rights of voters while making a particular tax policy a constitutional mandate.
  • Measure 50 is a deliberate attempt to evade the taxpayer protections guaranteed in our constitution - protections that require a 60 percent vote to raise taxes in the state.

  • If Measure 50 passes, for the first time in our state's history we will have a single product tax written into Oregon's constitution.

  • Any changes to the tax imposed by Measure 50 must be made by additional constitutional amendments.

  • Measure 50 sets a dangerous precedent for the imposition of future taxes on other products via constitutional amendment.

Oregon's constitution was designed to be harder to change than statutory laws, which is why Measure 50 is proposed as a constitutional rather than statutory law. But tax policy should not be made permanent in our constitution. Regardless of how you feel about smoking and health care, the legislature - not our constitution - is the proper place for tax policy.


(This information furnished by James L. Huffman, Professor of Law and former Dean, Lewis & Clark Law School.)

Argument in Opposition

Laws should solve problems, not create more.
Unfortunately, Measure 50 doesn't pass this test.
Read for yourself why Measure 50 deserves your "NO" vote in November.


NO on Measure 50 - Our Constitution Shouldn't be a Tool for Special Interests

Oregon's Constitution is a sacred document that sets forth the tenets that form the basis of our legal system and laws. It was never intended to become a "catch all" to be used by special interests to promote their own political agendas.

Unfortunately, Measure 50 would change all that by amending our constitution to tax a specific product - the first time this would ever have been done in Oregon's nearly 150 year history.

Measure 50 Evades Critical Taxpayer Protections

Oregon's Constitution protects taxpayers by requiring a supermajority legislative vote to enact new taxes. When the state legislature failed to come up with the necessary votes to pass a tax increase, Measure 50's proponents tried to find a way around these protections - by changing the Constitution itself! Any changes or modifications to the Measure 50 tax increases will require another constitutional amendment.

Measure 50 - A Pandora's Box and a Dangerous Precedent

While Measure 50 would raise the tax on a pack of cigarettes by more than 70 percent, the real question for Oregonians is "what's next?" If the special interests succeed here, what new tax will they try to put in the Constitution at the next election? Will they decide to tax groceries? Will they decide to tax soft drinks or fast food? There's only one way to make sure we never face more of these special interest Constitutional amendment tax measures - by giving Measure 50 an overwhelming "NO" vote this November.


For more information, please log on to


(This information furnished by Lisa Scott Gilliam, Stop the Measure 50 Tax Hike Committee.)

Argument in Opposition

As an accountant, I think Measure 50 looks like a bankrupt plan

For over 25 years of public practice, I have shared my expertise with clients to help ensure long term financial stability for them and their families.

After looking at the numbers in the Legislative Fiscal Office analysis, it's clear that Measure 50 will result in a large budget deficit for the Healthy Kids health care program in Oregon.

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that the new revenues from the tobacco tax increase won't meet program costs in the future. As we've seen in Oregon and around the country, when tobacco taxes increase, some people will stop smoking. This is good UNLESS you're trying to sustain a growing program with these shrinking revenues.

It's simple to understand that Measure 50's program costs will continue to rise, while tax revenues will continue to fall. If one of my clients had a job that paid less every year, while their expenses increased at the same time, they would quickly go bankrupt.

It's the same with Measure 50.

In a client's case, the wage earner would either need a new job, a second job or a serious cut in their expenses to escape financial disaster. In the Legislature's case, it would either need to levy a new tax, increase the tax, or severely cut funding to its new Healthy Kids program to live within its means.

Measure 50 doesn't add up to a sound financial plan for Oregon. In the next few years, when the program costs outpace the tax revenue, we can expect another budget mess for Oregon.

Measure 50 is poor fiscal policy. Please join me in voting against this constitutional amendment and ask your legislators to create a financially responsible solution for health care in Oregon.

(This information furnished by Diane E. Fritz.)

Argument in Opposition



Don't let the name "Healthy Kids" fool you. Take a closer look, and you'll find that most of the new tax money raised in Measure 50 isn't even expended on the Healthy Kids program.

According to the Legislative Fiscal Office, over 70% of the funds collected from the proposed tobacco tax increase will not be expended for the Healthy Kids Program in this budget cycle.

What's more, Measure 50 contains a "blank check" for the legislature of $65 million that isn't dedicated to any specific health care purpose at all. That's right…over 1/3 of the new tax money raised by Measure 50 is nothing more than a blank check.

The legislature, in conjunction with the health insurance companies, HMO's and big hospital chains are asking you to take the unprecedented step of sticking a tobacco tax in the Oregon Constitution. It would be the first time in history that our constitution was amended to create a tax for a single product. They say that the main purpose of Measure 50 is to create the Healthy Kids program.

But the numbers tell a different story.

  • Over 70% of the revenue raised by Measure 50 isn't expended for the Healthy Kids Program.

  • $65 million of the revenue raised by Measure 50 is a blank check that isn't dedicated to any particular health care program at all.

Visit www.reject50.com and take a closer look.

Vote NO on Ballot Measure 50

(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition


Measure 50 Amends Oregon's Constitution to Tax Specific Products

Our Constitution is a sacred document. It should only be amended for very important and fundamental reasons. Never before has Oregon's Constitution been amended to tax specific products and now is not the time to break that tradition. Voting NO on Measure 50 protects our Constitution.

Measure 50 Could Mean Higher Taxes for Oregonians

The massive government entitlement programs that would be funded by Measure 50 are almost certain to require more and more funds. However, most experts agree that the tobacco taxes used to fund these programs are almost certain to decline over time. If more money is needed, the politicians could pass higher income taxes or even initiate a sales tax to make up the deficit.

Measure 50 is Bad Fiscal Policy

According to the Legislative Revenue Office, Measure 50 leaves $68 million for the legislature to spend on programs other than children's health care. State bureaucrats have even announced plans to pay a $25 bounty or "finders fee" for signing up new participants for the new government health program funded by Measure 50. A state authorized bounty program is almost certain to be abused and is not what Oregon taxpayers need.


For more information, please log on to


(This information furnished by Lisa Scott Gilliam, Stop the Measure 50 Tax Hike Committee.)

Argument in Opposition

A Former Oregon Health Plan Financing Manager Says

Measure 50 Will Short-change Oregon's Neediest

As a former manager for health financing operations at the Oregon Health Plan, I know the importance of having a stable revenue source for our state-run health insurance plans.

As much as I would love to see expanded access to health care for Oregon's needy, it is not prudent to tie those essential programs to a declining revenue source like a tobacco tax. As we've all seen in the past, many worthy programs that the legislature creates are later cut when the state's wallet grows thin.

Like the current tobacco tax, the revenues that Measure 50 seeks to raise will likely fall hundreds of millions of dollars short of the new program costs.

Existing health insurance programs, like the State Children's Health Insurance Program and the Oregon Health Plan, are partially funded by the current cigarette tax. Those programs are consistently under-funded and neglected. We should take care of the programs we already have instead of creating a massive new program that will simply be cut when tobacco tax revenues begin drying up.

Measure 50 is simply a pretty house of cards that we'll all watch crumble in the years to come when the costs outrun the revenues. Unfortunately, when the house folds, it will rob health care coverage from the Oregonians who need it most.

Please join me in voting against Measure 50. Oregon can do better for its neediest citizens. Measure 50 is simply a recipe for future program cuts.

Marilee Teller

(This information furnished by Marilee Teller.)

Argument in Opposition


The Measure 50 tobacco taxes, which the politicians put on the ballot as a constitutional amendment when they failed to pass them in the legislature, are another example of our elected officials ignoring simple economics. Measure 50 creates a new program with a growing appetite for money, but plans to pay for it with a revenue stream that will get smaller each year.

Measure 50's proponents claim that by increasing cigarette taxes by more than 70 percent, they will decrease smoking among Oregonians and generate enough money to fund a new state-run health care program.

But tobacco taxes have been shown to be a declining revenue source - meaning that they decrease over time. In addition, when Oregon last raised its cigarette taxes in 2002 it took in 24 percent LESS revenue than projected. And in one dramatic case, when New Jersey raised its cigarette tax in 2006 by 17.5 cents per pack, revenue from the tax actually DROPPED by $23 million the following year.

Oregon already sends 73 percent of its tobacco tax revenue to the Oregon Health Plan, and Measure 50 makes the state's health care system even more dependent on tobacco taxes. If there is a shortfall of revenue for this expensive new program, where will the state get additional funds?

That's a good question.

The only good answer is a NO vote on Measure 50 this November.

For more information, please visit:


(This information furnished by John A. Charles, Jr., President and CEO, Cascade Policy Institute.)

Argument in Opposition


As president of the Northwest Grocery Association, an organization representing more than 80 percent of Oregon's retail grocers, I urge voters to read Measure 50 for yourselves and then join me in voting NO this November.

Grocers, retailers and small businesses know full well how hard it is for consumers to make ends meet. We also know that taxes take a big bite out of every dollar earned and spent in the state. Measure 50 is all about new taxes on Oregon consumers.

If Measure 50 passes, one class of consumers in Oregon will face a more than 70 percent tax increase. It would be the first time that our Constitution was used to impose taxes on specific products - setting a precedent that could be very damaging for all Oregonians down the road. This time it is taxes on tobacco, but next time the politicians want more taxes, it could be a tax on soft drinks or snack foods.

Measure 50 would raise millions of dollars in new taxes to support a new and expanded health care bureaucracy - this doesn't make any sense when there are 60,000 eligible kids who are NOT YET ENROLLED in the existing Oregon Health Plan, despite record state revenues that could be tapped for this purpose.

Please join grocers, retailers and small business owners throughout Oregon and VOTE NO ON MEASURE 50. Our Constitution is not the place for a special interest tax.

For more information, please log on to


(This information furnished by Joe Gilliam, Northwest Grocery Association.)

Argument in Opposition

What would you do with a $65 million BLANK CHECK?

That's the issue that has Oregon legislators and HMO lobbyists licking their chops. If Measure 50 passes, state legislators will have a lot more of your money to spend on whatever health care expenses they want - all under the guise of "Healthy Kids."

Don't let the name "Healthy Kids" fool you. It's a wolf in sheep's clothing.

  • Over 70% of the funds collected from the proposed cigarette tax will not be expended for the Healthy Kids Program, which proponents advertise as the purpose for Measure 50.

  • What's worse is that $65 million, over 1/3rd of all revenues from the tobacco tax increase, ISN'T DEDICATED to any specific health care expenditure under Measure 50 and could even be used for higher payments to hospitals or HMOs.

  • Massive tax increase on a small minority of working class Oregonians to pay for an expensive new health program that should be the obligation of all Oregonians.

One Blank Check to the Legislature for $65 million +
Over 70% of New Money NOT Spent on Children's Health Insurance =
A Bad Deal for Oregon Taxpayers



(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition

Please Don't Sacrifice Oregon Business for a Tax Increase That Won't Be Spent on Children's Health Care!

As a grocery store owner in Portland, I work very long hours to run a responsible community business. I would never run my store the way the legislature plans to run the so-called "Healthy Kids Program." They make it sound like every cent from the tobacco tax increase will go to helping children get health care. No one can disagree that all Oregon children deserve to see doctors and get the help they need.

I was dismayed to find out that over 70% of all the money raised from this tobacco tax will not be expended on state-run children's health insurance programs.

Why would the legislature advertise this money as going to the children when most of it will not pay for the children? It's disappointing to say the least. I would never tell my customers that I'm selling them one thing, when it's really another. I consider that dishonorable.

If Measure 50 passes, I will lose business. Just like after the last tobacco tax increase, my customers that choose to smoke will find ways to buy lower-priced cigarettes. And those customers from Washington that bought cigarettes in my store will go away because what's the use of buying in Oregon when the price is the same in Washington?

Times are tough enough for small business owners in Oregon. The legislature is selling voters one thing, and telling them it's another.

Please tell your family and neighbors to vote against this dishonest ballot measure.


Suki Eum
Glisan Market

(This information furnished by Suki Eum, Glisan Market.)

Argument in Opposition

Ballot Measure 50

It's Unfair.

It's Unaccountable.

It's Unsustainable.

It Abuses the Oregon Constitution.

Measure 50 is a deeply flawed measure that attempts to establish an expensive new children's health care program by taxing a small minority of Oregonians - smokers.

It's unfair. Only 18% of Oregonians are smokers. Most smokers are working class people with modest incomes. Measure 50 would force this minority to shoulder the entire burden of paying for the health insurance of others.

It's unaccountable. Most of the money raised by Measure 50 is not even expended on children's health care! In fact, over 70% of the money is spent on programs other than children's health care. This includes a whopping $65 million "blank check" that isn't dedicated to any specific health care item at all. Where is the accountability for all this new tax money?

It's unsustainable. It's a fact - the new health care program will grow more expensive every year. At the same time, the new cigarette tax will bring in less and less money every year. In just a few short years, the money from this new tax will fall far short of being able to pay for this program. Who will the legislature tax next to make up for this inevitable shortfall?

It abuses the Oregon Constitution. Measure 50 sticks a cigarette tax exactly where it doesn't belong - in the Oregon Constitution. In fact, this would be the first time that the Oregon Constitution was ever used to create a tax for a single product. If the legislature succeeds in putting this tax into the constitution, you can be sure that they will try and lock more taxes in the Constitution later.

For more information, go to Freedomworks.org

(This information furnished by Russ Walker, Freedomworks.)

Argument in Opposition

You Can't Call It "Healthy Kids" When Less Than 30 Percent of the New Tax Funds Children's Health Insurance Programs

The Oregon Legislature wants you to think that you're voting on something as good as motherhood and apple pie.

Unfortunately, it's just another way the folks in Salem are trying to hoodwink Oregonians into passing a massive tax increase by giving it a friendly name.

If you're like me, you wince every time you look at your paycheck and see hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars deducted for different state and federal expenditures. The government is supposed to be accountable for every penny you give to them.

Sadly, Measure 50 includes a big, $65 million blank check for the legislature to spend on any health care expenditure it wants. That could be higher funding for the state health care bureaucracy and that could also be bigger per-patient bills for health insurance companies. The truth is, we don't have any control over how or where that money is to be spent.

No Accountability for Your Hard-Earned Tax Dollars.

Less Than 30 Percent of Funds for Healthy Kids.

One Big Blank Check.

No on Measure 50.

(This information furnished by Tom Larimer.)

Argument in Opposition


Please Vote "No" on Measure 50

Protect and Preserve the Oregon Constitution

  • This is the first time our constitution will be amended to create a tax on a single product.

  • A cigarette tax doesn't belong in the constitution.

  • We shouldn't change the constitution to pass a new tax.


(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition



Ballot Measure 50: The first time our CONSTITUTION will be amended to create a tax on a single product.

A cigarette tax doesn't belong in the constitution. That's just not right. We shouldn't change the constitution just to pass a new tax.

  • Measure 50 sounds good at first, but the legislators that referred this decision to the voters won't tell you that it's a constitutional amendment to permanently affix a single-product tax to the Oregon Constitution.

  • If you have read our constitution, you know it's a document that outlines the most basic rights guaranteed to every Oregonian. Those rights include freedom of speech, free elections, and no taxation without representation. A tobacco tax increase does not belong among those rights.

  • If we ever wanted to change the tax or remove it from the constitution, it would require another vote of the people.

  • Measure 50 will forever change the document that determines each Oregonians' inalienable rights.

  • If we can put a cigarette tax in the Oregon Constitution, couldn't we also shove taxes on certain foods, beverages or activities into the Oregon Constitution?


Vote NO on Measure 50.

(This information furnished by Andrea Reimer.)

Argument in Opposition

Legislature Violates Constitutional Protections to Put Measure 50 on the Ballot

As a state legislator, I take my oath of office very seriously. My oath of office simply says that I will support the Oregon Constitution to the best of my ability.

I voted against Measure 50 when it was in the legislature because unfortunately, the legislature found loopholes that would allow it to violate some very specific constitutional protections for Oregon taxpayers. I don't believe that this is an honest way to conduct legislative business, and voters should reject it.

The Oregon Constitution is very specific in how the legislature can raise taxes. First, every proposed tax increase must originate in the House of Representatives. Second, every proposed tax increase must be passed by a 3/5th "supermajority" in both the House and Senate. The constitution gives no other options for increasing taxes.

But instead of adhering to constitutional protections, the legislature chose to bypass them.

Measure 50 originated in the Senate, not in the House as the Constitution prescribes. But even worse, the legislature found a "loophole" that would allow it to pass a tax without getting the necessary 3/5th "supermajority" of votes. How did they do this? By trying to stick this tax in the Constitution itself.

By attempting to increase a tax by amending the Oregon Constitution, the legislature deliberately side-stepped some of Oregon's most important constitutional safeguards.

I am concerned that if Measure 50 passes, we will begin to see other tax increase proposals locked into our Oregon Constitution because it will become the path of least resistance for the legislature to raise taxes.

Like most Oregonians, I support programs and opportunities to expand health insurance for Oregon children as Ballot Measure 50 purports to do, but not at the expense of sacrificing our state constitution.

State Representative Bill Garrard
Klamath Falls, OR

(This information furnished by William Garrard, Oregon State Representative, House District 56.)

Argument in Opposition

Don't Amend Our Constitution with a First-Ever Single Product Tax!

As a member of the Oregon City community, I greatly respect and value the constitution. I was taught that the constitution contains the most basic rights that we are guaranteed as Oregonians like life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

Measure 50 worries me because it would be the first time our constitution was amended to create a tax on a single product. I don't think we should fundamentally change our constitution for a cigarette tax.

A tobacco tax increase does not belong in our constitution.

As a small grocery store owner, I sell many products to my customers, including tobacco. It's not fair that my customers who choose to smoke should bare the burden of paying for the health care of other people's children. That's everyone's responsibility.

I see my health insurance bills going up every year, far outpacing the rate of growth in my store. Measure 50 would take money from some of my customers and throw it at the same old health care system, which badly needs reforming.

However, if the legislature or congress reforms the health care system, the tobacco tax couldn't be changed without another vote of the people.

Measure 50 doesn't make sense.

It will be stuck into our constitution.

It will tax a few of my customers to pay for health care for other people's children when it's everyone's responsibility.

It will throw money at a broken health care system.

It can't be changed without another vote of the people.


(This information furnished by Steve Choi, Get and Go Grocery.)

Argument in Opposition

The Legislature Plays "Rope-A-Dope"


Oregonians and the Oregon Constitution


Measure 50

Take a look at how the legislature got around taxpayer protections in the Oregon Constitution during the 2007 Legislative Session:

  1. Oregon's Constitution requires the legislature to have a 60 percent supermajority in order to pass a new tax or tax increase.

  2. The legislature could not get enough votes to pass the cigarette tax on its own so it found a loophole.

  3. The legislature then referred the cigarette tax to voters as a constitutional amendment to get around the supermajority requirement, because a constitutional amendment only requires a simple majority vote in both chambers.


The legislature is trying to sneak in a new tax through a constitutional amendment, because it couldn't get enough votes to pass the cigarette tax on its own.

The legislature didn't do its job, and now it's asking you to sacrifice Oregon's Constitution.

Reject the legislature's attempts to deliberately evade the protections built into the Oregon Constitution.

Oregonians shouldn't change the constitution to pass a new tax.


VOTE NO on Measure 50.

(This information furnished by Wayne Brady.)

Argument in Opposition


This year, the Oregon legislature had $2.5 billion more of your money than it had during the last legislative session - a record budget with an almost 20% increase. If they really wanted a "Healthy Kids" program, they could have funded it without raising any more tax money.

But what did the legislature do? They spent every dollar they had on other things. After the money was gone, they wanted even more to pay for a program called "Healthy Kids." So now they're asking you to raise taxes, mostly from working-class people, by voting for Measure 50 - and sticking a cigarette tax in our constitution at the same time.

That's not all. This very same legislature is using Measure 50 to give itself a "blank check." That's right, the legislature is giving itself a $65 million blank check in Measure 50. Who knows how they'll spend it?

Measure 50 raises taxes on a small minority of working-class Oregonians. That's unfair, uncompassionate, and forces our children to rely upon others choosing to smoke. That is bad policy, and is unsustainable over time.

If the legislature managed our tax money a little more wisely, it could have addressed the issue of health care for children without raising taxes. Instead, they're asking you for a blank check while enshrining a cigarette tax into the Oregon Constitution. Naturally, everyone wants kids to have the care they need. But Measure 50 is not the answer.

Don't reward legislative irresponsibility.
Make them come up with a better plan.
Vote NO on Measure 50.

Check us out: www.farpac.org

(This information furnished by Richard P. Burke, Exec. Dir., Freedom and Responsibility PAC (FARPAC).)

Argument in Opposition

Dear Oregonians,

At a point in history when we have become so keenly aware of the evils of discrimination, it is ironic to me that we are being asked to enshrine a discriminatory tax in the Oregon Constitution. Tobacco use is dangerous and unadvisable. Yet this fact does not make it acceptable for us to discriminate against tobacco users as Measure 50 asks us to do.

It really is quite simple. Proponents of Measure 50 are asking the majority who do not use or sell tobacco to place provisions in the Oregon Constitution that will require a minority of Oregonians who smoke to provide health care to all of Oregon's uninsured children. Oregon smokers will pay this tax even if most children using the Healthy Kids program have parents with more money that the smoker whose tax dollars are funding the program. Oregon smokers will pay this tax regardless of whether they have insurance of their own.

Meanwhile, no matter how much money nonsmokers make, no matter how much nonsmokers benefit from the Healthy Kids program, and no matter how much less the tax burden would be if all Oregonians contributed - nonsmokers will not contribute one cent toward providing health insurance for Oregon's uninsured children. That's discrimination - and discrimination does not belong in the Oregon Constitution.

Please vote No on Ballot Measure 50.

Lila Leathers
Leathers Enterprises, Inc.

(This information furnished by Lila C. Leathers, Leathers Enterprises, Inc.)

Argument in Opposition



It's unfair for insurance companies, HMOs and big hospital chains to say tax revenues raised by Measure 50 will go to the children, because it's not true.

Over 70% of the funds collected from the proposed tobacco tax increase will not be expended for the Healthy Kids Program in this budget cycle.

That's right. Nearly 3/4 of the revenue raised by Constitutional Amendment 50 won't go to the Healthy Kids Program.



(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition

So … Where is the Money from Measure 50 Really Going?

Measure 50 is for Healthy Kids. Sounds good, doesn't it?

What doesn't sound good is that most Oregonians who pay taxes (yes, that's you) probably don't know where the money raised from Measure 50 will actually go.

You think it's for children's health insurance? Think again.

The new, constitutional tax that Measure 50 sets up will:

  • Take $65 million of your tax dollars and put it into a slush fund for the legislature to spend on whatever health care expenses it wants—including expanding the government health bureaucracy.

  • Keep over 70% of the money from the new tax revenues for programs other than the Healthy Kids Program. That's right. Almost 3/4 of the money you think is going to the kids actually is not.

  • Hand health insurance companies no-bid contracts from the state.

  • Shove a cigarette tax into our constitution.

  • Give advertising firms up to $20 million to buy TV and radio advertising for smoking cessation issues. (That's $20 million people can't spend on their own health insurance.)

And because health care costs rise every day, the programs in Measure 50 will eventually outpace the declining revenue from a cigarette tax as people stop smoking.

Who picks up the tab for these huge programs when the cigarette money dries up?

The rest of us.


For more information, go to oregonwatchdog.com

(This information furnished by Jason Williams, Taxpayer Association of Oregon PAC.)

Argument in Opposition

Over 70% of the "Healthy Kids" Money

Won't Go to Children's Health Insurance.

When the legislature dodged Oregon's constitutional super-majority requirement by referring Measure 50 to voters as an unprecedented constitutional amendment on a single product, they called Measure 50 the "Healthy Kids Plan."

They are misleading you. During the next few years, according to the analysis of Oregon's budget-crunching Legislative Fiscal Office, less than 30% of all the money raised from the proposed tobacco tax will be spent on children's health insurance.

Calling a program like this "Healthy Kids" is deceiving and unfortunate when most of the money won't even go toward much-needed health care coverage for kids. Millions will simply be used to backfill programs that are already experiencing budget shortfalls under the current tobacco tax.

Another piece of this budget puzzle is the huge chunk of "unallocated" money from the proposed tobacco tax increase that the legislature has earmarked as a set-aside for any health care program it wants. That set-aside is estimated by the Legislative Fiscal Office to be $65 million. Most voters probably do not realize that "Healthy Kids" is really funding a disgraceful blank check for the legislature.

If the legislature wants more tax dollars from Oregonians, it should be honest about telling us where all the money will go. If it's not for children's health care, they should say so.

Looking just a few short years down the road, with tobacco tax revenues declining, you can bet the legislature will be looking to tax the rest of Oregon to fund the budget shortfalls. That could mean anything from increased income taxes to a sales tax!

Reject this Deceiving Constitutional Tax.

The Legislature Will Tax the Rest of Us Later
to Backfill the Deficits.

Vote NO on Measure 50.

Check us out: www.lporegon.org

(This information furnished by Richard P. Burke, Executive Director, Libertarian Party of Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

Measure 50 Is Bad News for Oregon Business and the State's Budget!!!

Here are three good reasons to oppose Measure 50, the constitutional tobacco tax increase:

  1. Sharply Declining Tobacco Tax Revenues

  2. Tobacco tax revenues will decline every year, while the programs required by Measure 50 are projected to nearly triple in a few short years. This will create a massive budget shortfall that will need to be funded one way or another.

  3. Harmful Impact on Oregon Retailers and Employees

  4. It's estimated if Measure 50 passes, Oregon retailers, will see sales drop 18% for the 84.5-cent increase. In the years after the last tobacco tax increase, sales dropped 15% for a 60-cent increase. That means nearly 400 Oregonians could lose their jobs due to decreased sales.

  5. Out-of-State and Internet Retailers will Reap Profits while Oregon Businesses Suffer

  6. Because three out of four of our surrounding states would have significantly lower cigarette taxes, Oregonians near borders could save themselves hundreds of dollars annually simply by buying cigarettes in another state. For example, an Oregonian could save $14.55 per carton of cigarettes by purchasing in Idaho, rather than paying the higher tax in Oregon. Buying cigarettes online is another popular way some smokers could circumvent the price increase.

It doesn't make sense to unnecessarily disadvantage Oregon retailers by passing a constitutionally mandated tobacco tax increase that will not meet budget expectations in the years to come.




(This information furnished by Sung Cho, Korean American Grocers Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Millions for TV and Radio Ads? A Blank Check Worth $65 million?

That Doesn't Sound Like Children's Health Insurance.

The insurance companies, HMOs and big hospital chains behind Measure 50 want you to think all the new tax money will go for the kids. Like most ballot measures, the devil's in the details of Measure 50.

Ballot Measure 50 sounds good, but did you know …

  • Over 70% of the funds collected from the proposed cigarette tax will not be expended for the Healthy Kids Program, which is supposed to be the main purpose of the initiative.

  • $65 million, or over 1/3rd of all revenues from the proposed tobacco tax increase, isn't dedicated for a specific purpose at all and could be used by the legislature for any health care expense it wants in this budget cycle. It's a $65 million blank check!

  • $20 million of the new tobacco tax dollars could be used to purchase radio and television ads to convince people to stop smoking.

We all want to put kids first, but Measure 50 is riddled with earmarks for special interests like insurance companies, HMOs, big hospital chains … and even advertising firms!

(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition

Americans for Prosperity - Oregon Urges a "NO" Vote on Measure 50

  • Measure 50 will give Oregon the third highest tax in the nation. Do we want our state to have one of the highest taxes in the country?

  • Measure 50 imposes an unfair tax on the behavior of a small minority of your friends and neighbors, and asks them to pay for health care for someone else's children. What could be more unfair?

  • Measure 50 is another in a string of wild promises from the Legislature that raising taxes will solve all our problems.

  • The Legislature just finished spending billions of taxpayer dollars - the most in State history - increasing taxes and increasing the budget by 20 percent, but now wants another tax increase for children's health care?

  • Most of the money from this tax increase does not even pay for what the Legislature claims. Instead the money goes into the General Fund to potentially be spent on pork projects.

  • Measure 50 relies on the contradictory ideas that we need to reduce smoking, while at the same time rely on smoking to pay the government's bills.

  • Cigarette taxes are notoriously unreliable. The amount of money raised is never as much as promised.

  • Measure 50 represents the fifth time the State has raised cigarette taxes in the past 10 years. Cigarette tax revenue - despite all these rate increases - has not even kept up with inflation.

  • Our state has the 7th worst unemployment in the country. Measure 50 will add another burden to the backs of low-income Oregonians and those who are suffering the loss of their job.

  • Providing health care for children is the responsibility of their parents, not the taxpayers and certainly not a small minority of primarily low-income taxpayers.

Please join us in voting NO on Measure 50.

Americans for Prosperity - Oregon

(This information furnished by Jeff Kropf and Matt Evans, Americans for Prosperity - Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Small Business Coalition Urges "NO" Vote on Measure 50

Ballot Measure 50 is well intended, but the negative consequences of the measure are so glaring that we believe voters should say NO.

The most obvious problem with the measure is that it seeks to put a specific tax rate on a specific product in the Oregon Constitution. This is clearly not the appropriate place for any tax, let alone a tax on cigarettes. It would be the only such tax in the Oregon Constitution and most likely the only such tax in any state Constitution across the country.

We are very concerned about funding this new entitlement program with cigarette tax dollars. These new tax dollars are projected to decline every year and will fail to sustain the new Healthy Kids program in just a few short years. Yet the cigarette tax rate will be locked into the Constitution. All Oregon businesses and individual taxpayers will clearly face the prospect of increased taxes in the future to sustain this Program when the funding shortfalls occur in the coming years.

Finally, we are concerned that the "Healthy Kids" proposal really isn't about healthy kids at all. If Ballot Measure 50 were really about extending health coverage to over 100,000 Oregon children, we would expect to see more than just a mere 29 percent of the money dedicated to children's health care. But that's the reality of this measure - over 70 percent is allocated to something other than children's health care.

We'd like to see children's health insurance expanded in a responsible and sustainable way. Unfortunately, Constitutional Amendment 50 is neither responsible nor sustainable. Please vote no.

(This information furnished by Darrell Fuller, President, Oregon Small Business Coalition.)

Argument in Opposition

Keep tax policy where it belongs - in our state laws - and NOT in our constitution.

As the President of a business that's been a Portland landmark for over 100 years, I'm very concerned with the dangerous precedents set by Measure 50. This measure attempts to raise a specific product tax (tobacco) in the worst way possible - by putting it in the Oregon Constitution.

The Oregon Constitution clearly lays out how tax increases need to be addressed by the legislature. First, each tax increase proposal must originate in the House of Representatives. Second, each tax increase proposal must pass with a 3/5th majority in both the House and Senate. The constitution protects taxpayers and does not give the legislature any other option for raising taxes.

But instead of abiding by constitutional guidelines, the legislature found a "loophole" that would allow itself to circumvent constitutional protections by putting a cigarette tax increase in the constitution itself.

Now that this "loophole" has been exploited for the purpose of putting Measure 50 on the ballot, we can be certain that other tax increases that cannot be passed through the normal legislative process will re-surface as constitutional amendments.

If Measure 50 passes, it is conceivable that the Oregon Constitution may become littered with various tax increases that could not be changed or repealed unless voted by the people.

I am also concerned that the legislature is only fooling itself if it believes these new tobacco taxes will sustain a new, expensive health care program. Our experience shows that as tobacco taxes increase, our customers look to buy their tobacco products over the internet or in lower-tax states. This not only harms Oregon retailers, but it seriously calls into question whether the legislature can fund an expensive program with a declining revenue source. Quite simply, they can't. More taxes will soon be needed.

Please vote NO on Measure 50

(This information furnished by Tom Moran, Rich's Cigar Store.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon Neighborhood Store Association represents small neighborhood stores across the State of Oregon. On behalf of our members, we ask you to vote No on Measure 50 for these reasons:

  • Tobacco Taxes Do Not Belong In Oregon's Constitution

  • The Oregon Constitution is intended to provide a general framework for government. Fundamental principles like the right to free speech and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure belong in the Constitution. Tobacco taxes do not.

  • Oregon Already Has a $2.5 Billion Surplus: Why a new tax?

  • Improved economic conditions provided legislators with a $2.5 billion surplus for the 2007-09 budget cycle. The legislature could easily have used this surplus to provide health insurance for children. Instead, legislators decided to spend the entire $2.5 billion of this new revenue on other programs and ask voters to impose a new tax on a disfavored minority.

  • Less than 30% of New Tobacco Tax Will Go To Healthy Kids Program

  • Certain interests want you to believe all the money generated from the tobacco tax will be used to support the Healthy Kids Program. However, less than 30% of the new tax is actually dedicated to the Healthy Kids Program. [State of Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office analysis of Senate Bill 3, page 3]

  • Tobacco Tax Is Unsustainable

  • Tobacco taxes are not a sustainable source of funding for the Healthy Kids Program. Health care costs will increase over time, while revenues from tobacco taxes will decrease over time. It does not make sense to use a declining revenue source to pay for a program with increasing costs.

  • All Oregonians Should Contribute - Not Just Smokers

  • Fewer than 1 in 5 Oregonians smoke. If we want to provide health care to all Oregon children, then all Oregonians should help fund this program on a proportional basis. It is not fair to make smokers bear the entire cost of a program we all value.

(This information furnished by Terrence W. McEvilly, Oregon Neighborhood Store Association.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon Legislature began the 2007 legislative session with a $2.5 Billion ($2,500,000,000.00) surplus. It ended the session by referring to voters a Constitutional Amendment that will cost Oregonians $194.5 Million ($194,500,000.00) during the next two years alone.

Proponents of this new tax say the money will be used to fund the Oregon Healthy Kids Program. The fact is that less than 30% of the money from this new $194,500,000.00 tax will be used to support the Healthy Kids Program. The state's own analysis shows that a majority of the revenue from the new tax - over 70% - can be used on other programs. [State of Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office analysis of Senate Bill 3, page 3.]

With high gas prices, a mortgage meltdown, and $2.5 Billion of surplus revenue, it hardly seems like the time for a tax increase of any sort - especially a tax that targets a class of Oregonians with average incomes of $34,000 per year. However, if providing health insurance for uninsured children is something Oregonians are committed to doing, we need to ensure that all Oregonians contribute to this program on an equitable basis. We should not make the 1 in 5 Oregonians who smoke pay the bill for a program that benefits all Oregonians.

We expect leadership from our elected representatives, and they should not hesitate to ask Oregonians for more money when more money is truly needed. Yet we expect discipline as well. Our elected representatives should not be trying to impose new taxes when the State of Oregon has a $2.5 Billion surplus and the largest budget in state history. Moreover, if the legislature is going to ask for a new tax under these conditions, it should not be telling voters the money will be used for the Healthy Kids Program when more than 70% of the money is going somewhere else.

Please "Vote NO" on Ballot Measure 50.

(This information furnished by Gary J. Straube, Secretary/Treasurer, Dari-Mart Stores, Inc.)

Argument in Opposition


HMO's and Insurance Companies Cash In

with Ballot Measure 50

Under the new Healthy Kids Program, the State of Oregon would just give health insurance companies and HMO's new business and would not require that they competitively bid for the business.

Most working families have to shop for the lowest price.

The state should have to do the same before handing business to HMO's and insurance companies.

VOTE NO on Measure 50. The Buck Stops Here.


(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)

Argument in Opposition



Even though proponents say Constitutional Amendment 50 is for the children, it's really for the insurance companies and HMOs that will cash in from this proposal.

Under the new "Healthy Kids" program, the State of Oregon will give certain health insurance companies and HMOs new business and will not require that they competitively bid for the business.

And the state is going to trust those no-bid insurance contractors with tens of millions of your hard-earned money.

In fact, the State of Oregon's Legislative Fiscal Office, or budget evaluators, said in its analysis of Senate Bill 3 on June 22, 2007,

"A significant portion of the OPHP [Office of Private Health Partnerships] expenditures are in the form of payment subsidies to insurance providers…"

"…Marketing and outreach expenditures are estimated at $6.1 million for the 2007-09 biennium, and $5.8 million for the 2009-11 biennium …Included within marketing and outreach costs are finder fee payments…"

What's worse is that the taxes for these payments to health insurance companies and HMOs will be cemented in the Oregon Constitution. Blank checks to insurance companies and HMOs don't belong in Oregon's constitution.

Reject blank checks to insurance companies and HMOs.

Reject the State of Oregon handing business to them
without shopping for the lowest price.

Reject Measure 50.


(This information furnished by James L. Wilson, Oregonians Against the Blank Check.)



Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722