Oregon Ballot Measure 72 is the third of three Oregon constitutional amendments that were referred from the legislature for approval by the voters.  More than any of the others, this measure is merely a housekeeping measure that legalizes a practice that is common now but was not prevalent when the Oregon Constitution was enacted.

This measure proposes authorizing lowest-cost borrowing for the state’s real and personal property projects. Currently, the state constitution forbids lending the state’s credit or borrowing in excess of $50,000. The measure would amend the state constitution to add a new exception to allow the state to issue general obligation bonds to finance the acquisition, construction, remodeling, repair, equipping, or furnishing of state owned property.

General obligation bonds are the cheapest method of borrowing that the state may use.  This would cost less than the financing arrangements that the state currently uses.

The bonds would save about $5 million on interest costs for every $100 million worth of bonds that are issued. The measure does not actually authorize any bonds, but authorizes the Legislature to enact implementing legislation. The measure prohibits the levy of property taxes to repay the bonds and limits the amount of outstanding bonds to 1% of the real market value of property in the state.

In effect, all this measure is doing is letting the state borrow money for schools and other buildings and major projects at the lowest possible rates.  There is no added risk to the public.  There is no known organized opposition to the measure.