Vote no on 2 casino measures

Written by Observer editorial October 24, 2012 02:23 pm
Whether you like or you abhor gambling, Oregon’s public services are hooked on it.

The state lottery, which voters approved in 1984, is Oregon’s second-largest source of revenue (behind only income taxes).

Oregon also has nine tribal casinos. Although exempt from certain taxes, some of their profits also benefit Oregonians, both tribal members and, through philanthropic programs, people who don’t live on reservations.

But this current system, which supplies a relatively reliable source of money for public schools, state parks and other functions, could be changed substantially if the backers of  The Grange, a casino that would be built in Wood Village, an east Portland suburb, get their way in the Nov. 6 election.

They are promoting two measures, 82 and 83, that would make The Grange possible.

The potential harm this non-tribal casino could cause to state services, and to the tribes, is too severe to justify our supporting either measure.

Measure 82 would change the state constitution to allow non-tribal casinos.

Measure 83 would specifically authorize only one such casino — The Grange.

Supporters argue that the new casino would help rather than hurt state government. The Grange would be legally required to give the Lottery Commission 25 percent of the adjusted gross revenue from gambling (The Grange’s other operations, such as a restaurant and hotel, would not have to pay the 25 percent).

The 25-percent share, backers insist, would help to offset the revenue that The Grange would siphon from tribal casinos and the lottery.

But some experts, including University of Oregon economics professor Tim Duy, disagree.

The Grange would of course create construction jobs. But those would be temporary.

The hit to the lottery, which would have a direct effect on public schools, likely would be more lasting.

With schools already scrimping, that’s a risk we’re not willing to take. We recommend “no” votes on Measure 82 and 83.

 

Vote yes on Measures 77, 78 

The Oregon Legislature referred two matters to voters in the Nov. 6 election, and we recommend “yes” votes on both Measure 77 and 78. Both amount to little more than housekeeping.

Measure 77 would amend the state constitution to allow the governor to declare a catastrophic disaster — in the case of a massive earthquake, for instance. Currently, the governor has only statutory authority in such cases, which could make it difficult to direct state dollars to emergency services and other critical needs.

Measure 78 makes minor wording changes to the constitution, clarifying the separation of the legislative, executive and judicial branches. It replaces masculine pronouns in referring to the Secretary of State with gender-neutral ones. The current office holder, by the way, is Kate Brown.