Critics make note of Measure 48's out-of-state connections
- Mark Garber
- Gresham Outlook - News
But McIntire derides his opponents as part of 'the spending class'
Underlying the debate about Measure 48's merits is a fierce discussion over motives and money.
Measure 48's opponents have characterized the measure as the work of an out-of-state group that is providing most of the funding for this campaign. Americans for Limited Government, headed by Howard Rich, has contributed the majority of the money to fund the pro-Measure 48 campaign. Opponents say this is a case of outsiders trying to sell Oregonians on a flawed concept.
'It bothers Oregonians,' says Becca Uherbelau of Defend Oregon, 'that this gentleman from New York, Howard Rich, is pushing public policy that is harmful to Oregon. It doesn't have grassroots support.'
Measure 48 author Don McIntire bristles at the suggestion that this isn't an Oregon-born idea.
'I wrote this law almost two years ago,' he says.
McIntire, who doesn't accept any money for his campaign or initiative work, says Americans for Limited Government, which shares his belief that America's success is due to constitutional restrictions on government, approached him about backing the measure.
But McIntire also is ready to challenge his critics, whom he refers to as 'the spending class.' The opposition, he says, is funded primarily by public employee unions, 'who have no job assignment other than to increase the pay and benefits of those they represent.'
'Why they have standing on this issue at all is beyond me,' he says, adding later: 'People in government are living beyond the imagination of most Oregonians. Their benefit packages are breathtaking.
Uherbelau, however, says that many groups besides unions - including the Oregon PTA and the Oregon chapter of AARP - are working against Measure 48.
'Essentially, we have very broad-based support.'
She also disputes McIntire's description of public employees, including teachers and social workers, as people who simply spend taxpayers' money.
'I think a lot of Oregonians would disagree with his view of that group of people,' Uherbelau says. 'They see them as serving Oregon.'