Two referendum petitions have been filed targeting House Bill 3427, referred to as the Student Success Act, which was signed into law on May 16, 2019.
HB 3427 was designed to establish the Fund for Student Success and allocate funding to education purposes including the following:
- the creation of a grant program in the state’s Student Investment Account with funds to be spent on increased learning time, decreased class sizes, and improvements to students’ education, healthy, and safety;
- the expansion of access to free meals at school; and
- the creation of a program for students who have left high school to re-enter and complete high school.
The bill establishes a 0.57% tax (corporate activity tax) on businesses that have more than a million dollars in Oregon sales and reduces personal income tax rates for the lowest three tax brackets by subtracting 0.25% from the rates.
The first referendum, #301, seeks to overturn provisions of HB 3427 that levy a 0.57% tax (corporate activity tax) on businesses that have more than a million dollars in Oregon sales with revenue to be used to fund the Fund for Student Success. Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales is leading the veto referendum effort. Our Oregon is leading the campaign against the referendum effort in order to preserve HB 3427 provisions.
Oregon Senator Alan Olsen (R-20), who opposes the corporate activity tax and supports the referendum effort, argued, “The funds from the gross receipts tax are not dedicated to funding K-12 education by constitutional amendment, meaning the Democratic majority can spend it however they choose. Because it’s a statutory law, it is not guaranteed to education or K-12 programs like the Democrats have promised. Additionally, this tax will absolutely devastate Oregonians with fixed incomes, such as the poor and elderly – the very populations Democrats claim to represent – because consumers are paying for the sales tax every time something is purchased.”
Our Oregon argued, “Special interests have filed an attempt to send the Student Success Act to the ballot, jeopardizing a historic $2 billion investment in Oregon students. These dedicated investments mean smaller class sizes, more mental health resources, restored art, music, PE, and career training classes, and increased access to early education programs. The Student Success Act also delivers hundreds of millions in personal income tax relief for families across the state.”
The second referendum, #302, seeks to overturn Section 67 of HB 3427, which would prohibit cities, counties, or other local political subdivisions from imposing taxes on commercial activities or grocery sales.
74,680 valid signatures are due for each measure 90 days after the legislature adjourns its 2019 session. The legislature is set to adjourn at the end of June.
In the 112-year period between 1906 and 2018, 68 veto referendum measures have appeared on the ballot in Oregon. Veto referendums resulted in the targeted law being overturned in 44 of 68 cases for a veto referendum success rate of 64.7%. The targeted law was upheld in 24 of 68 veto referendum elections (35.3%).
The states that have had the most veto referendums are North Dakota (75), Oregon (68), and California (48).