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Portland Community College Board Opposes Measures 46 and 47
Photos and Story by Susan Hereford
In recent meetings, the Portland Community College board of directors voted unanimously to oppose Measures 46 and 47, statewide measures placed by initiative petition on the upcoming Nov. 5 general election ballot.
Director Germond moved that the resolution against Measure 46 be approved and it passed unanimously. The board opposed Measure 46 because "it gives non-voters a stronger voice in elections than voters, defies the constitutional provision for ‘one person, one vote,’ and prevents local schools and community college districts, cities, counties, or other governments from raising money locally for locally supported purposes.
The board also went on record in opposition to Measure 47, stating that "Measure 47 will reduce and limit educational opportunities for Oregon students. Further, it ties the hands of local boards and local citizens by turning decision-making authority about education to the Legislature, thus inhibiting PCC’s abilities to respond quickly to community needs." Director Germond also put the motion to a vote and it passed unanimously.
Because Measure 46 requires that a majority of all registered voters — rather than a majority of those who vote — are needed to approve tax measures, it automatically gives non-voters a "no" vote and thus enfranchises voters who are not informed or choose not to vote. It also includes as "no" voters those who have registered to vote but have died or moved away, yet are often kept on the polling records for years. Measure 46 would make it almost impossible to pass any new tax or bond measure no matter how many of those voting approved it. The measure also removes the bond exemption from the Measure 5 property tax limits and its passage could incur major additional costs to PCC and other districts that passed bond measures following Measure 5.
Measure 47 was opposed by the board because it would cut property tax revenue to PCC without any requirement that the state replace the lost revenue. It is estimated that Measure 47 would exact a $8.8 million cut to the PCC budget in 1997-1999. The "cut and cap" measure would ultimately limit student access to lower division and job training programs. It would prevent the college from meeting new and expanding needs in the communities it serves. It would also place control of community college programs and services in the hands of the Legislature and take control from the elected local boards. According to the Attorney General, Measure 47 would also require PCC to put tuition increases to a vote of the people.