An alternate view on 735

Numenorean at Kick the Anthill has read over my recommendations for this year’s State Questions, and she agrees with three out of four.

On SQ 735, though, she takes exception:

My concern with this tax exemption is the same concern that I had on the last one we voted for. I have a problem with making an exemption for one group of people. Veterans are not the only people who serve us sacrificially. What about teachers? Firefighters? Law enforcement? Nurses? I am concerned that when we begin making this kind of exemption it only snowballs. I honestly have no idea what the figures are for what funds the state is declining to receive from veterans, but something tells me that it’s going to start to add up.

Qualifying for this particular exemption requires 100-percent disability, which suggests that relatively few people will actually get it. And this isn’t the property tax, which hits all of us who own real estate; this is the personal-property tax, which is applied only to specific, and usually business-related, possessions. I expect the dollar impact of passage would be vanishingly small.

Still, it’s a reasonable point being raised: if Group A gets a tax break, why not Groups B through V inclusive? There’s only one answer: the state Constitution would have to be amended for each of them, so if someone wants to circulate a petition granting a tax exemption to a group, that option is available, and the voters can decide for themselves.

Update: Incorrect personal pronoun corrected.


  1. paulsmos »

    2 November 2008 · 6:05 pm

    Some groups are more equal than others……

  2. Charles Pergiel »

    2 November 2008 · 8:40 pm

    We’ve got this voter initiative thing up here in Oregon and seems like every election (which means TWICE a year) there are at least half a dozen initiatives, and half of them are proposed amendments to the constitution. The index to the constituion now runs 40 pages. Talk about a slippery slope.

  3. CGHill »

    2 November 2008 · 9:03 pm

    As you might figure from the number, we’ve had a bit over seven hundred of these things over the last 100 years, though rather a lot of them never made it to the ballot for various reasons. And just about anything in this state requires Constitutional changes; the state Constitution consists of twenty-nine articles, one of which they have the temerity to label “Miscellaneous.”

  4. Numenorean »

    3 November 2008 · 9:51 am

    Thanks for the extra info — that’s helpful. I (she) would personally like to see a tax exemption for the group of people who breathe. But then where would we be? Ah, well…a girl can dream.

  5. Dwayne "the canoe guy" »

    3 November 2008 · 12:23 pm

    Wouldn’t a tax exemption for people that breathe actually cut down on the number of folks that threaten to hold their breathe until they get their way?

    Hmmm, might vote for that one.

    I would like to see one for folks who singlehandly changed Oklahoma City canoe laws to allow for a 14 foot canoe to be legally placed in a city waterway.

    But that’s just me.

  6. CGHill »

    3 November 2008 · 1:01 pm

    Wouldn’t a tax exemption for people that breathe actually cut down on the number of folks that threaten to hold their breath until they get their way?

    As Steve Forbes used to say, “No taxation without respiration.”

  7. unimpressed »

    3 November 2008 · 3:45 pm

    >“No taxation without respiration.”

    Shouldn’t the same also apply to voting?

  8. CGHill »

    3 November 2008 · 3:52 pm

    And disenfranchise one of the Democratic Party’s most cohesive constituencies? How cruel.

  9. Stephen Sheline »

    4 November 2008 · 11:54 am

    SQ 735

    What about teachers? Firefighters? Law enforcement? Nurses?

    These people have skills that can be used to find jobs, earn an income and pay taxes. There is absolutely no comparision between these people and military people that have become totally disabled.

    With logic like this, I do not suggest you try for a job in the rocket science industry.

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