Update: Measure 97 defeated; most others pass

SALEM, Ore. - The biggest proposed tax hike in Oregon history, Measure 97, was defeated by by voters in updated results Wednesday, but most other measures were approved by voters.

The 2.5 percent increase in corporate minimum tax for sales over $25 million lost 59 percent no to 40 percent in favor, with more than 1.8 million ballots counted.

 

Opponents and supporters of Measure 97 battled bitterly during a campaign in which the two sides raised about $25 million.

Backers of the measure said big corporations based out of state needed to pay more to help pay for education and other services in Oregon.

Opponents said Measure 97 would also hurt Oregon companies and that it would raise costs that would be passed onto consumers.

The other defeated, 63 to 36 percent, was Measure 94, which would have eliminated the mandatory retirement age of 75 for state judges. The measure had no organized opposition.

Approved measures and updated margins included:

Measure 95, to let public universities invest in equities, passing 70-29 percent.

Oregon's Constitution forbids state agencies, including the state's public universities, from playing the stock market.

Supporters of Measure 95 said allowing public universities to invest in equities would give them another tool for generating revenue.

The University of Oregon had asked state lawmakers to put Measure 95 on the ballot.

Measure 96, to dedicate 1.5 percent of state lottery proceeds to support for veterans, was approved overwhelmingly, 83 percent to 16 percent opposed.

The measure calls for earmarking 1.5 percent of lottery proceeds for veterans' services. That's nearly $19 million every two years.

The money would be used to help veterans access state and federal benefits, as well as for employment, education, housing, health care and treatment programs.

Measure 98 requiring state funding for high school dropout prevention, career and college readiness programs , was passing 65 to 34 percent.

It calls for the Legislature to budget $800 for every Oregon high school student, or about $150 million each year, for programs that are known to improve graduation rates.

The measure won't raise taxes and doesn't have a funding source.Critics worry about paying for the programs if state revenues fail to meet expectations.

Measure 99, using lottery funds to fund Outdoor School, easily passed, 66 to 33 percent.

The measure calls for taking up to $22 million from the state lottery's economic development fund to send 50,000 fifth- or sixth-graders to Outdoor School each year.

Many school districts have had to scrap Outdoor School programs because of caps on property taxes and the recent recession.

Measure 99, approved by a 2-to-1 ratio, is intended to ensure that Oregon kids don't miss out on an opportunity to learn about plants and animals, soil and water, and other aspects of the natural environment.

Measure 100, banning the purchase or sale of parts or products from some wildlife species, passed 69 to 30 percent.