Housing & HealthcareVoters' Guide

2018 Measure 102

  • Amends Constitution:
  • Allows local bonds for financing affordable housing with nongovernmental entities.
  • Requires voter approval, annual audits Remove Some State Control of Local Bonds

It’s a bit wonky, but simply put, Measure 102 would allow local voter-approved bonds to fund public-private partnerships to develop affordable housing. Currently, Oregon’s Constitution prohibits this. The reason you are voting on something so technical is that Oregon’s Constitution can only be changed by a vote of the people. Measure 102 was placed on the ballot with strong bipartisan support, including many good conservatives.

We support this Measure because it decentralizes control over local bonding matters. We generally support efforts that increase local control of civil government, since the Bible warns against centralized government, and affirms local accountable self-government (1 Sam. 8, Deut. 17:16, rulers at the city gates, etc.). Measure 102 doesn’t create any bonds, it just allows local governments the freedom to develop them, if their voters approve.

Having said that, it’s not likely that such bonds would help fix the affordable housing problem. The opposite is more likely, in our view. Like other issues, government helped create the problem, and its proposed fixes usually make things worse while it takes money out of our pockets.

We could make housing more affordable by loosening zoning regulations, expanding the urban growth boundaries, and by lowering permitting costs and other exorbitant fees associated with new construction.

We question the wisdom of voting to make your property collateral for projects that private developers will significantly profit from. National conservative commentator David L. Bahnsen warns that public-private partnerships are an “invitation to the worst forms of cronyism.” We agree. But Measure 102 simply gives local voters the freedom to do what may well be quite unwise. Freedom includes the freedom to do foolish things.

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