Measure 48

Argument in Favor

It's time to tell our politicians to: "Save it for a Rainy Day."

It's indisputable. Our state government suffers from a serious lack of discipline. The record shows that no matter how much money the state extracts from taxpayers, in good times or bad, the politicians will write a budget that spends every last dime, every time.

Over the last ten years, the rate of inflation and growth in population rose by 42.9%, while at the same time the State of Oregon grew spending by 86.7%!* Sadly, even though our legislators increased spending by twice the rate of inflation, they set none of it aside for, well, a "rainy day."

Ending irresponsibility

By a vote of the people, Measure 48, ends that particular legislative irresponsibility and it does not, as the big spenders claim, strangle the growth of state spending. In fact the standard for growth is still generous (perhaps not for the spending class). During the next budget cycle, this measure will allow spending to grow by 8% over the current budget!**

Here's the best part.

Even though our politicians will still be able to spend almost all the money the state collects, and $2 billion of rainy-day-funds will be available in just the first budget, future budgets will accumulate even more as spending expands at the rate of inflation and the growth of population.

Not only will Measure 48 institute some much needed legislative spending discipline, but those surplus funds can gain interest and remain available, to keep the state comfortable during those inevitable future "rainy days."

Don McIntire
Taxpayer Association of Oregon, President

*2006 Oregon Public Finance: Basic Facts. Research Report 1-06, Oregon Legislative Revenue Office.
**Fiscal Impact Statement, this pamphlet, population + inflation growth, 8.24%

(This information furnished by Don McIntire.)

Argument in Favor

Measure 48 hands Citizens the Power to Stop Overspending

The Rainy Day Amendment is more than "just a spending limit that creates a rainy day fund."

It returns power to the people by granting us a "Voters' Veto" whenever the legislature wants to exceed the spending limit.

Normally, our legislators spend every dollar the state brings in, whatever the amount.

Somehow, they never run out of ideas for new spending.

The Rainy Day Amendment changes that dynamic by tying spending increases to reasonable, objective factors: inflation and population growth.

When politicians can't spend everything, the leftover money (the rainy-day-funds) can be socked away for lean times down the road.

But what happens if the legislators want to spend more?

It's not impossible, but they do have to accomplish two simple things.

First, legislators need to work together to craft a spending proposal garnering the support of two-thirds of their members.

Then, they need to present the excess spending proposal to the voters.

By making legislators forge broad, bipartisan support before asking the voters' permission, we ensure that they will not seek this authority lightly.

Oregon desperately needs citizen oversight to restore common sense to our budget.

Vote for the Rainy Day Amendment!

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

Argument in Favor

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. What is the Rainy Day Amendment?

A spending limit that allows state government to grow from budget cycle to budget cycle, based on objective growth factors.

Q. How does the spending limit operate?

It combines the inflation rate for Oregon with the growth in state population during the two years preceding a budget cycle. That sum becomes the growth factor used to determine the ceiling on spending for the next budget cycle.

Q. What kind of growth will it allow?

Over the last eight budget cycles, the growth factor averaged about 10% per two-year cycle. For the next budget cycle, the growth factor will be about 8.24%.

Q. How much does the state usually spend?

Over the last eight budget cycles, growth in spending averaged about 14% per budget cycle.

Q. How much is the difference between the limit and possible spending?

For the next budget cycle, the spending limit would create surplus funds amounting to somewhere between $1.4 - 2.2 billion out of an all-funds budget of about $44 billion.

Q. What will happen to the surplus funds?

Surplus funds would automatically carry forward in the state treasury until such time that they are capable of being spent (such as during a recession when revenues fall below the spending limit).

Q. Could the legislature give them back to taxpayers?

Yes, but they would have to pass a law.

Q. Does the Rainy Day Amendment affect the "Kicker" tax rebates?

No. That is a separate function unrelated to the spending limit.

Q. What happens if the legislature wants to spend more?

In order to spend above the limit, two-thirds of legislators must propose a spending question before the voters. If voters approve, the spending limit is adjusted higher.

Q. Are there any exceptions to the spending limit?

Yes. Federal funds, voter-approved bonds, sales of government property and money set aside in a Rainy Day Fund do not count against the limit.

(This information furnished by Eric Winters.)

Argument in Favor

Keep your legislator honest, vote for the Rainy Day Amendment

Every election voters wade through stacks of mail from politicians promising to:

"Hold the line on spending,"

"Set budget priorities,"

"Root out waste,"

"Save for a rainy day," and, of course,

"Lower your taxes...."

Each would have us believe that he or she can deliver on these promises -- that if you will only give them your vote it would make the difference in Salem.

They'll talk on and on about their "vision" but what have you really seen?

It's almost too depressing to discuss, but this year we can help those candidates keep their word by passing the Rainy Day Amendment.

This measure will serve as a collective conscience for our Legislature. It will allow the state budget to grow, but no faster than the rate of inflation and population.

Legislators will have to "hold the line on spending" because the "line" will hold them.

Legislators will have to "set budget priorities" because there is no reason to wait around for a larger revenue projection once a ceiling for spending is established.

Legislators will have to "root out waste" because the spending limit will create pressure to locate inefficiencies. They may keep proposing new spending ideas, but they'll have to scrap the ones that don't work in order to fund the new ones.

Legislators will have to "save for a rainy day". When they can't spend everything every budget cycle, the money left over becomes a surplus to set aside for lean times.

Two or three percent per year out of a $40+ billion budget will add up quickly. In a few years, the Rainy Day Fund will fill up to the point where legislators will actually want to "lower your taxes."

Vote for the Rainy Day Amendment (you just might save a politician's soul).

(This information furnished by Eric Winters.)

Argument in Favor

For years Oregon experts have been
highlighting the powerful positive effects of a spending limit....

"[a]n Oregon with a functional tax system would need an adjustable state-government spending limit....A spending limit would create incentives for the kinds of tough decisions legislators are making with PERS in this session and weigh against the creation of future boondoggles. It also would work against the bureaucratic tendency to build costs in, and up."
The Oregonian Editorial Board
March 3rd 2003.

"A strong spending limitation in the 1990s could have kicked Oregon's economy into overdrive."
Cascade Policy Institute
2003 Report: "Blame politicians, not Measure 5".

"Passage of a constitutional spending limit would cause a setting of priorities for state spending. OTR has advocated priority setting as one way to deal with the perceived cash crunch in Salem."
Oregon Tax Research
"Your Taxes" Newsletter, March 2000

Let's put these good ideas into action!

Yes on 48

Stop Government Overspending

Vote Yes on 48

(This information furnished by Wayne Brady.)

Argument in Favor

Are you concerned that wasteful government overspending threatens Oregon's economic future?

In Oregon we care about sustainability. We want a sustainable environment with sustainable usage practices to secure a sustainable future.

But we have a problem in our state: irresponsible state government overspending by our Legislature. Unchecked, this problem undermines the sustainability of Oregon's economic future.

Oregon has missed out. Around the country, many states have taken advantage of innovations in spending practices that have secured their states' competitiveness to attract investment and create jobs – while delivering better value to taxpayers.

These states have learned from the private sector, where competition is a natural way of life.

While allowing for a reasonable automatic budget growth, The Rainy Day Amendment will provide our state government the rule it needs to begin to prioritize spending and wring out duplication, excess, and inefficiency.

We know it's all there, the examples could fill the Voters' Pamphlet. Savings and efficiencies are desperately needed in order to allow Oregon to move forward. Unsustainable overspending must be curbed.

Vote Yes on 48 – to secure a sustainable economic future for Oregon.

The Rainy Day Amendment: A state spending limit that puts the voters in charge of overspending decisions.

(This information furnished by Paul Farago.)

Argument in Favor


- Oregon was rated the 9th biggest spending state in the nation. Oregon spends more tax dollars per capita than 41 other states.
(Governing Magazine: annual Government Source Book 2005)

- For 25 years, Oregon state budget grew on average 13% per budget cycle. Taxpayers can't afford non-stop 13% government growth.
(Based on biennial basis. Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Forecast Report. Dept. of Administrative Services 12/03).

- Oregon was the fastest growing state government in the nation in 2000!
(Association of State Budget Officers, Fiscal Survey of States, December-2000)

- USA Today stated that Oregon has been spending beyond population and inflation (almost twice the amount). (USA Today, June 23, 2003)

Oregon's nationally embarrassing spending record
is hurting taxpayer families and our economy!

Oregon's spendthrift legislature was completely unprepared for the last recession

With a spending limit we will instill the discipline to build a rainy day fund.

YES on 48!

For more information on state spending go to

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

Argument in Favor

Oregon's Big Government is Bad for Business

Big Problem! Many businesses have left Oregon, taking jobs, wages and families with them:

- K-line container shipping, moved Tacoma, 2004
- Hyundai Merchant Marine, moved in 2004
- Albertson's NW Headquarters moved to Idaho, 2004
- Wells Fargo Financial moved Vancouver, 2003
- Kuni Automotive moved Vancouver, 2003
- Albina Fuel moved to Vancouver, 2003
- Gardenburger moved to Utah, 2003
- Louisiana Pacific moved to Nashville, 2003
- Meier & Frank moved to Los Angeles, 2002
- Willamette Industries moved to Washington, 2002

When jobs leave our state, those workers are no longer employing the rest of us…to sell them insurance, groceries, gasoline, clothing or anything else. Our whole economy shrinks!

To create a business friendly environment, we must stop overspending by government.

A government with reasonable growth limits is business friendly.

A government without spending limits is a government that spends too much, regulates too much, and taxes too much.

Small businesses and taxpayer families have to live within a budget and limits – shouldn't government do the same? Measure 48 provides for common sense growth limits that will produce good government and a good climate for business to thrive.

Yes on 48

Jim Haynes
Small Business Coordinator
Oregon Business Roundtable Committee

(This information furnished by Jim Haynes.)

Argument in Favor

The Rainy Day Amendment: No Better Port in a Storm

Some thoughtful people have heard stories that the Rainy Day Amendment could hamper the state's ability to cope with a natural disaster.

Obviously, hurricanes or tsunamis are some of the ultimate "rainy days," so opponents are using them to scare voters.

Opponents claim, to spend money on a disaster would require a vote of the people, and that might take too much time in an emergency.

This is a scare tactic, not reality.

The fact is, after the passage of Measure 48, if we did experience a disaster, we would be better suited to confront it than we are now.

First of all, under Measure 48, the state retains ready access to the funds already and always set aside for the Legislature's Emergency Board. The Emergency Board has the power to transfer funds and amend appropriations under predetermined guidelines in immediate response to a crisis.

Second, under a sustained disaster, the legislature could access all additional unspent funds in the current budget and spend whatever is reasonable and necessary for emergency services. The legislature would likely follow that up with a vote to tap the rainy day funds and spend beyond the limit. With a reserve of funds set aside and growing with compound interest, Oregon voters would naturally be amenable to releasing those funds in an emergency.

Let's be honest, if we have an emergency now, with no Rainy Day Fund, we would face a big tax increase, guaranteed.

Most importantly, if a disaster hobbled Oregon, we would be better prepared to rebuild and provide for basic needs if surpluses had been saved in advance. The Rainy Day Amendment will set aside and safeguard those surpluses.

Measure 48 is a prudent spending limit for all seasons…especially the rainy ones.

(This information furnished by Kurt Weber.)

Argument in Favor

Oregon needs a Rainy Day Fund

Because politicians can't bring themselves to stop spending every last cent the state collects each budget cycle, there should be some sort of constitutional restraint on the impulse to spend everything.

In fact, many of those same politicians actually agree with this sentiment. However, when the subject comes up, they often say they need a limit, but they also want to have it coupled with a "Rainy Day Fund." That would give them a cushion for those occasional, but inevitable, economic downturns when the tax cash flow slows down.

Give them what they want.

Measure 48 does exactly what our elected officials say they want. It gives them a prudent "growth allowance" by tying state spending to population and inflation growth.

Since state tax and fee collections have historically exceeded the Measure 48 "popuflation" growth allowance, surpluses will be there for the state to set aside and safeguard for any future hard times.

Measure 48 still allows billions in new spending.

Government officials predict that Measure 48 will allow the next budget to grow by at least 8.2% ($2.6 billion in new spending) while generating $2.2 billion in surplus funds, a natural rainy day fund. Over time the fund could grow and collect interest, and then when tax revenues in some future period came up short, we would not have to make the ugly choice of cutting services or raising taxes as we have had to do in the past.

No more broken vows.

Like many other broken vows, politicians have promised a Rainy Day Fund for years, but never delivered. The voters are tired of waiting - 45 other states are protected by a rainy day fund - Oregon needs to join them. Let us not pass up this opportunity to put the politicians promises into action. We can't afford to wait around for more promises.

Please vote Yes on Measure 48,
"The Rainy Day Amendment."

(This information furnished by Richard Leonetti.)

Argument in Favor

Oregonians Benefit Equally from the Rainy Day Amendment

Opponents of Measure 48 have made a big fuss about the people who helped bring this question to the ballot. However, there has been very little scrutiny of who is funding the opposition.

Neither the chief petitioners, nor any campaign volunteers, nor any donors, nor any of the 162,000 people who signed the Rainy Day Amendment petition will benefit more from its passage than the average Oregonian.

This measure does not pit one class of taxpayers against another, instead, it safeguards the interests of all taxpaying citizens by:

1) Granting reasonable growth allowances while preventing government overspending;

2) Generating billions of dollars in surplus revenues for a Rainy Day Fund; and,

3) Giving voters the authority to approve or disapprove proposals to bust the budget limits.

The benefits of reasonable government growth, building a rainy day fund and shifting power to the voters translates equal benefits, across the board, to every Oregonian.

Our opponents, on the other hand, have a direct long-term financial stake in the outcome. They are the government employee unions and the other special interests who long for larger government subsidies. Therefore, they absolutely disfavor ANY limit on government growth. They benefit much more than the average Oregonian under the status quo and will invest millions of dollars (gleaned from taxpayers) to oppose the Rainy Day Amendment.

When you read through ballot measure arguments, it's a good idea to ask yourself who is benefiting on each side.

In the case of the Rainy Day Amendment, its benefits flow evenly to all Oregonians.

Only those who dream of an unlimited state government stand to lose.

(This information furnished by Don McIntire, Chief Petitioner.)


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