Halfway There: Measure 5 and the Road Ahead


Watershed events often become dividing lines in history. Twenty-five years ago, Californians created such a line when they voted to reduce their property tax burden through Proposition 13. Thirteen years ago, Oregonians drew a similar line when they voted for Measure 5 to reduce their property tax burden.

Mythology surrounds such events, and Measure 5 is no exception. Supporters claim it reigned in government’s taxing power over its citizens. Opponents claim it has starved essential service budgets, especially for education.

“Halfway There: Measure 5 and the Road Ahead” is presented to document what Measure 5 was supposed to do, what it actually did, and what further steps might be appropriate to achieve its supporters’ goals. Author Jamie Voytko was a 2003 summer research intern at Cascade Policy Institute. An economics major at the University of Chicago, he came to Cascade eager to “do economics” rather than simply study it. Realizing that Oregonians needed a comprehensive analysis of Measure 5 after more than a decade of mythology, Cascade asked Mr. Voytko to research and write this report.

Mr. Voytko worked under the guidance of Cascade’s chairman, William B. Conerly, Ph.D. Dr. Conerly is one of Oregon’s most respected private economists. Principal in his own firm, Conerly Consulting, he is also a member of Governor Kulongoski’s Council of Economic Advisors, and served in that capacity for Governors Goldschmidt, Roberts and Kitzhaber.

This report was reviewed by several fiscal analysts, including members of Cascade’s Board of Academic Advisors.

Although Measure 5 only dealt directly with controlling property taxes, we recognize that its supporters had, and still have a larger vision in mind. Controlling government spending is the other side of the tax limitation movement. We are therefore pleased that Mr. Voytko expanded his report to study what tools Oregonians might use to control government spending. His detailed discussion of what a well-crafted Tax and Expenditure Limitation might save taxpayers is an important contribution to Oregon’s ongoing budget debates, and lays out a road ahead for us to follow.

Steve Buckstein, President
Cascade Policy Institute

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About the author: Jamie Voytko was a 2003 summer research intern at Cascade Policy Institute. He is an economics major at the University of Chicago.

About Cascade Policy Institute: Founded in 1991, Cascade Policy Institute is Oregon’s premier policy research center. Cascade’s mission is to explore and promote public policy alternatives that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity. To that end, the Institute publishes policy studies, provides public speakers, organizes community forums and sponsors educational programs.

Cascade Policy Institute is a tax-exempt educational organization as defined under IRS code 501(c)(3). Cascade neither solicits nor accepts government funding and is supported by individual, foundation and business contributions. Nothing appearing in this document is to be construed as necessarily representing the views of Cascade or its donors, or as an attempt to aid or hinder the passage of any bill before any legislative body. The views expressed herein are the author’s own. Copyright 2006 by Cascade Policy Institute. All rights reserved.

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