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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Anti-Tax Group Wants To Force Elections On Tax Hikes

Kevin Mooney
Northwest News Network

SALEM, Ore. – Initiative activists in Oregon are already looking to the 2014 ballot. One of the early ideas: Require voter approval for nearly all tax increases.

The Taxpayer Association of Oregon is a long way from qualifying its initiative for the ballot. It would require any proposed tax increase that would raise more than $5 million a year statewide to go before voters. The current requirement for tax hikes is that they have to be approved by at least three-fifths of the legislature.

The group’s Jason Williams says the idea is to add another level of accountability for lawmakers.

"It's hard for citizens to keep track of what's happening with their lives because so many people have hands on their wallet. And so this is kind of a necessary measure to bring things into balance."

Scott Moore of the public employee union funded group Our Oregon calls the proposal a "terrible idea" that would harm schools and social services.

In the last election, Washington voters reaffirmed a law that requires tax increases go to voters unless the legislature passes them by a two-thirds vote. That system is the subject of a court challenge.

On the Web:

Initiative Petition 4 (Oregon Secretary of State)