Oregon’s at it again. In the rush by Democrats to raise taxes, when their bill didn’t get the required 60% majority in the Legislature they decide to attempt a constitutional amendment to ram it through (referring it to voters). How many times have we heard the state Constitution is no place for such things? But when Democrats want a tax increase, all those ideals are gone with the wind.
Democrats pushed for the constitutional amendment only after their efforts to pass a law outright were stymied by Republicans who have said exiting revenues should pay for the coverage.
Tax increases require a supermajority of 60%, meaning that Democrats, who hold a slim 31-29 advantage in the House, would need at least five Republicans to join their cause.
But a constitutional referral takes only a simple majority, so when it became clear they lacked the votes for an outright tax increase they decided to put it on the ballot.
The idea (increasing taxes on cigarettes to pay for healthcare) may (or may not) be a good idea, but ignoring legislative rules and using the state Constitution isn’t. As with all crazy ideas like this, Democrats like circumventing legislative ideas when they hold a slim majority, but how will they like it when Republicans hold a slim majority? No matter which party has the majority, this is a bad idea.
There’s no other way to say it, this is a stupid, stupid idea. Arguing for or against the tax increase (on cigarettes) is one thing, but even if you’re for the tax hike, putting a tax increase in the Constitution to sidestep legislative rules is the epitome of stupidity.
We hope Oregon voters vote down this insane idea as it sets an extremely bad precedent.