Measure 103 Has Oregonians Divided

Oregonians have the opportunity to amend the state constitution on their voting ballot. Measure 103 would prohibit the state from taxing groceries. The issue, however, is more complicated than it at first appears.

Posted: Oct. 18, 2018 5:22 PM
Updated: Oct. 18, 2018 5:50 PM

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. -- Oregonians have the opportunity to amend the state constitution on their voting ballot. Measure 103 would prohibit the state from taxing groceries. The issue, however, is more complicated than it at first appears.

Measure103 would amend the constitution to prohibit the state or any local government from taxing the sale, purchase, distribution or transfer of groceries. Groceries are defined as any raw or processed food or beverage intended for human consumption. It does not include "alcoholic beverages," "marijuana products," or "tobacco products."

Victoria Flowers and her husband Jason are farmers in Klamath Falls. Victoria works for the "Yes" on 103 campaign. They grow hay, oats, barley, and field peas on nearly 3000 acres of land. Their farm is spotted with juniper forests, with views that look at the Cascades on one side and into the Basin on the other.

Victoria has strong feelings about Measure 103. "As a farmer, you know I'm very passionate about measure 103, voting yes on measure 103," explains Victoria. "I think everybody should look at the fact that a basic necessity should not be taxed."

Her argument is bolstered by her husband. "To me, taxing groceries would be like taxing the oxygen that we need to breathe," he remarks. "And so I don't believe that's fair for anybody."

Some who oppose the measure say grocery stores will benefit the most. Jason disagrees. "They're saying that it's going to help with corporations, you know, not paying taxes. And the large grocery stores and stuff like that," he says. "And you know, from what I read, that's just not true."

Others question the need to amend the constitution. They say it goes too far. Victoria, though, says that Oregon's Constitution has been amended 240 times — so this is nothing that hasn't been done before.

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