2007 Oregon Ballot Measure 50

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Oregon 2007 Measure 50

2007 Oregon Ballot Measure 50 was a significant piece of legislation proposed in the state of Oregon, United States, aimed at amending the Oregon Constitution to allow for a tax increase on tobacco products. The primary goal of this measure was to fund children's health care programs, including the expansion of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) in Oregon. Despite its intentions to address healthcare accessibility for children, Measure 50 was met with considerable debate and ultimately failed to pass in the November 2007 election.

Background[edit | edit source]

The initiative for Measure 50 originated in the context of growing concerns over healthcare coverage for children in Oregon. At the time, a significant number of children were uninsured, and the measure sought to reduce this number by providing additional funding through increased tobacco taxes. The proposal was seen as a way to both improve public health outcomes by discouraging smoking and generate revenue for a critical area of public need.

Proposal[edit | edit source]

Measure 50 proposed a constitutional amendment that would increase the cigarette tax by 84.5 cents per pack, with the additional revenue earmarked specifically for children's health care programs. This was a notable aspect of the measure, as it sought to constitutionally dedicate funds from the tax increase, a move that required voter approval to amend the state constitution.

Campaign[edit | edit source]

The campaign surrounding Measure 50 was highly contentious, with strong arguments both for and against the measure.

Supporters of Measure 50, including various health organizations, argued that the tax increase would serve dual purposes: reducing smoking rates, particularly among youth, and providing essential funding for uninsured children. They highlighted the potential for improved public health outcomes and the moral imperative of ensuring all children have access to healthcare.

Opponents, primarily funded by tobacco companies, contended that the tax increase was excessive and unfairly targeted smokers. They also raised concerns about the precedent of earmarking tax revenue through constitutional amendments, arguing that it could lead to inflexible budgeting practices.

Outcome[edit | edit source]

In the November 2007 election, Oregon voters rejected Measure 50, with approximately 59% voting against and 41% in favor. The defeat was attributed to a variety of factors, including a well-funded opposition campaign by tobacco interests and voter reluctance to amend the state constitution for the purpose of increasing taxes.

Aftermath[edit | edit source]

The failure of Measure 50 led to continued discussions about how best to fund children's health care in Oregon and the role of tobacco taxes in public health policy. While the specific proposal did not pass, it sparked a broader conversation about healthcare funding and the impact of smoking on public health.

See Also[edit | edit source]


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