Hood River County voters joined the rest of Oregon in giving solid approval to two tax measures on Tuesday's mail-in special election ballot.
In unofficial results provided by the county elections office Wednesday, voters passed both Measure 19 (education stability fund) and Measure 20 (cigarette tax increase.)
On Measure 19, the vote was 2,669 to 1,894, or 57.6 to 40.8 percent. (The remaining 1.6 percent of ballots were "undervotes," meaning voters did not cast a vote on Measure 19.) Statewide, 62 percent of voters approved the measure.
Measure 19 would transfer $150 million from the state education endowment fund to a school stability fund, to defray cuts to state schools.
On Measure 20, the vote was 3,158 to 1,465, or 68.2 percent to 31.6 percent. (Undervotes on Measure 20 accounted for the remaining 1.2 percent.) Measure 20 increases the cost of a pack of cigarettes by 60 cents, from 68 cents to $1.28, and is expected to raise $70 million in the next biennium. Statewide, the measure received a 68 percent yes vote.
A total of 4,635 Hood River County voters cast ballots, for a 44.1 turnout. This is well above the unofficial statewide response of 33 percent of ballots returned.
In a related development, the Legislature on Tuesday agreed to send voters an income tax increase measure in a special election Jan. 28, 2003. (Wednesday's Hood River News editorial, page A4, incorrectly stated the vote would be in 2002.)
The measure would raise $315 million this budget year by increasing the personal income tax rate from 9 percent to 9.5 percent, and the corporate tax rate from 6.6 to 6.93 percent.