On the eve of a closely watched Oregon election, political analyst Jackson Miller shared his expertise with The Oregonian and Oregon Public Broadcasting. The controversial ballot initiatives received national attention as a possible snapshot of the mood among voters.
“It’s surprising to see so much money being spent in a down economy,” Miller said of Measures 66 and 67, which boost taxes on wealthier Oregonians and corporations. “But at the same time, the stakes are so high for both sides that the level of investment doesn’t surprise me.” The two sides spent more than $10 million trying to convince voters.
The new revenues are budgeted for state services such as education and public safety. Opponents, including business and anti-tax groups, collected signatures to force the measures onto the ballot.
“It’s been set up as an either-or, taxes or schools,” Miller said.
The tax measures passed easily, with a 54 percent to 46 percent ratio. Measure 66 raises taxes on households with taxable income above $250,000, and Measure 67 sets higher minimum taxes on corporations and increases the tax rate on upper-level profits.
Miller is one of the foremost experts in the state on ballot initiatives. On behalf of Oregon Humanities, the professor of communication arts has facilitated citizen discussions throughout the state about ballot initiatives. He has also conducted extensive research on issues such as physician-assisted suicide, gay rights, medical marijuana, logging practices and land use regulations. In 2008 he scripted and directed an irreverent original play focusing on the state’s controversial ballot initiatives, entitled “82,769 Signatures.”
Miller is also director of forensics at Linfield and a trainer for the International Debate Education Association, which sponsors debate forums for high school and college students from around the world.
Miller’s comments were carried by The Oregonian, Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Salem Statesman Journal, and several other news sites and blogs.