"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

A big special election

Might as well be said now, before the votes are counted: The voting ending in Oregon today is taking place in a substantial election. Special elections often aren’t so big a deal, except maybe locally. This one is different.

The first election in the Northwest in this new decade, it will likely have a decisive effect on how Oregon pays for its state and local services – but also much more. Last legislative session lawmakers imposed two tax increases: Is that a permissible thing? What are attitudes toward government, and toward the parties?

Not only Oregonians but political people around the country are watching. Notably, policy makers in Washington, where legislators are trying to figure out what to do with the massive hole in their budget.

Jeff Mapes at the Oregonian noted,

Whatever happens, Tuesday night will be historic. If the Yes side wins, it would be the first voter-approved income-tax increase since Oregon voters approved the income tax back in 1930 (and that was after they voted it in and then quickly repealed it in the 1920s).

If the No side wins, it will be a huge repudiation of the Democratic supermajority in the Legislature and an expensive failure for the public-employee unions that largely bankrolled the pro-tax campaign.

All true, of course. The Oregonian‘s page should be a good place to follow this; we’ll be back shortly.

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