Measure 48

Explanatory Statement

The State of Oregon budgets for two-year periods, beginning July 1 of odd-numbered years. Oregon's Constitution requires the Legislature to adopt budgets that do not exceed the revenue predicted for that same two-year period.

A state law also limits general fund spending to eight percent of personal income for that same two-year period but has not affected spending to date. The "kicker" law that refunds taxes that exceed a revenue forecast made prior to the legislative session limits revenue available for state services. That constitutional amendment has refunded collected revenue to individuals seven times and corporations six times.

Ballot Measure 48 proposes to limit state spending by amending the Oregon Constitution to provide that, unless approved by a 2/3 vote of both the Oregon House and Senate and a subsequent approval by a majority of the voters, spending for state services in a two-year period cannot exceed the amount spent in the previous two-year period plus the combined rate of the increase of the state's population and inflation in that same, previous, two-year period.

The Constitutional amendment would apply to spending of aggregate revenues collected from a variety of sources including but not limited to: income tax, lottery receipts, tuition, professional licensing and other taxes and fees. The measure would not apply to revenues from the following sources: federal funds, voluntary donations to state agencies, proceeds from the sale of bonds specifically approved by the voters and proceeds from the sale of real property at real market value to non-government entities.

The measure would not apply to money spent for the following purposes: tax and "kicker" refunds or money placed in an emergency fund or a "rainy day" reserve fund. (Money placed into an emergency or "rainy day" fund would not be available for state spending in excess of the spending limit without a 2/3 vote of the House and Senate and approval by the voters.)

The Legislative Fiscal Office estimates that the measure's effect in the upcoming biennium would restrict spending of approximately $2.2 billion out of approximately $35.6 billion in revenues estimated to be subject to the limit.

The Legislature could refund the restricted funds to taxpayers, place them in the funds noted above, leave them in the treasury and/or, with a 2/3 vote of each house of the legislature refer to voters a plan to spend them on state services.

Committee Members: / Appointed by:
Don McIntire / Chief Petitioners
Eric Winters / Chief Petitioners
Tim Nesbitt / Secretary of State
Margaret Olney / Secretary of State
Mike Greenfield / Members of the Committee

(This committee was appointed to provide an impartial explanation of the ballot measure pursuant to ORS 251.215.)


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