Herewith Isaac's view of the statewide ballot measures, starting with two housekeeping measures::
Measure 77 would amend the constitution to give the governor authority to respond to natural disasters and other specified emergencies and to manage the immediate response if the legislature is not in session. The measure can't ensure that the governor will be Chris Christie, but it is a reasonable proposal and should be adopted.
Measure 78 would correct the framers' confusion between departments of government and branches of government. It would also correct two embarrassing spelling mistakes ("seperate" and "independant") and remove the presumption that the Secretary of State is male. It, too, should be adopted.
No one much cares about Measures 77 and 78. The measures get much more interesting beginning with 79. Measure 79 would add a provision to the constitution to prohibit the state and local governments from imposing real estate transfer taxes. The transfer tax imposed by Washington County (0.1%, or $500 on a $500,000 house; for comparison, in Clark County, Washington the transfer tax would be $8,900) would be grandfathered. The state currently has a statute to prohibit new real estate transfer taxes, which the legislature can amend. If Measure 79 passes, the prohibition would be in the constitution, and any new real estate transfer tax would require a statewide vote to amend the constitution. The measure has attracted a lot of support and a fair amount of opposition. The opponents argue that the amendment isn't needed because state law already prohibits new transfer taxes. The proponents respond that transfer taxes have been proposed in every legislative session since 2001, including nine proposals in the last five sessions. The opponents make a second explicit argument, which is that this amendment would "clutter up the constitution" (three statements in opposition) and is "confusing and unnecessary" (four statements).
Actually, Measure 79 isn't confusing at all; it's very clear. It says that state and local governments may not tax real estate transfers except for fees that were in effect in 2009. The opponents dislike the measure, not because it is confusing and unnecessary, but because they want the legislature to repeal the ban on new transfer taxes so that cities and counties can adopt Washington-style transfer taxes. The repeated attempts to repeal the statutory ban mean that Measure 79 deserves a "yes" vote.
From taxing to toking: Measure 80 would create the Oregon Cannabis Commission (think of it as something like the OLCC) to regulate the sale of marijuana, and would legalize the private growing, owning, and use of marijuana in Oregon. We're odd enough as it is. Reject this measure.
Current law allows commercial salmon fishing in the Columbia River with gillnets. Measure 81 would ban commercial gillnet fishing by Oregon non-tribal fishers (Washington licensees could continue to use gillnets) and prohibit commercial non-tribal fishers from landing a higher percentage of fish (relative to recreational fishers) than they did in 2007-2011.
I don't understand the measure itself, but the arguments in the Voter's Pamphlet helped a great deal. I think that the measure closes the Oregon gillnet fishery, allows Washington gillnetters to continue, prohibits Oregonians from buying Washington fish, and gives sport fishers a window of several years of unobstructed fishing before Oregon issues regulations to allow its commercial fishers back on the Columbia. My general rule is to vote against anything that I don't understand, so I am voting against Measure 81.
Measures 82 and 83 are companions. Measure 82 would amend the constitution to authorize non-tribal casinos. Measure 83 would allow anyone to build a casino on one specific tract of land at the northeast corner of NE Glisan Street and NE 223rd Avenue in Wood Village, the former Multnomah Kennel Club. The two measures remind me of a character in Jimmy Breslin's novel "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight," a New York assemblyman named Joseph DeLauria who introduced a measure that would turn over ownership of the Hudson River to a private company. The governor, vetoing the bill, said "The last person who tried anything like this was my father." The casino sponsors have folded their tent (maybe I should say "folded their hands") and walked away. These measures are a special handout and deserve not just rejection but folding, spindling, and mutilating. Vote against them.
Measure 84 would repeal the Oregon inheritance tax and prohibit all income taxes on intra-company intra-family transfers [thanks, Jack!]. It's a nice idea that's abysmally written. It should be rejected.
Measure 85 would allocate the corporate income and excise tax "kicker" to fund public schools. Instead of refunding "kicker" money to corporations if the state's tax collections run above budget, the state would allocate the excess revenue to the public schools. The only argument submitted in opposition says that as business has received no kicker refund since 2007, the measure won't have any actual result. That's similar to the argument against Measure 79. It's not a very good argument. If some day corporate tax revenues are higher than budgeted, it makes sense to dedicate them to the public schools. I enthusiastically support Measure 85.