Oregon's colleges and universities occasionally need more space for classrooms, laboratories, research programs, faculty offices, and other student and faculty needs. Ballot Measure 69 amends the Oregon Constitution to allow lowest cost general obligation bonds from Article XI-F(1) and Article XI-G to be used for these expansions into existing buildings, not just new facilities.
Articles XI-F(1) and XI-G of the Oregon Constitution were adopted in 1950 and 1964, respectively. Since then, the roles and nature of higher education institutions have evolved beyond traditional instruction into areas of research, public service and economic development. Ballot Measure 69 would eliminate outdated provisions and unambiguously allow Oregon to issue general obligation bonds for the types of facilities used by today's community colleges and public universities.
Ballot Measure 69 would make it clear that community colleges and public universities could finance projects that benefit higher education institutions or activities. Current constitutional language may limit the projects that may be financed with bonds issued under Articles XI-F(1) and XI-G of the Oregon Constitution. Existing language does not specifically authorize the state to use these lower cost bonds to purchase existing buildings that are less expensive than new construction. Existing language further raises questions about the types of projects that can be financed with general obligation bonds issued under Articles XI-F(1) and XIG.
Ballot Measure 69 continues the requirement that Oregon University System have enough revenues to pay for bonds issued under Article XI-F(1). Current language in Article XI-F(1) of the Oregon Constitution requires projects financed with bonds authorized by this Article to be entirely self-supporting through revenues, gifts, grants or building fees. Ballot Measure 69 changes existing language to allow moneys used to support such projects to originate from any source other than tax revenues appropriated from the General Fund. The measure would also eliminate confusing language that interferes with financing mixed-use projects with proceeds from bonds issued under both Articles XI-F(1) and XI-G of the Oregon Constitution.
Current language in the Oregon Constitution requires that Article XI-G bonds be matched by an identical amount of other funds. Ballot Measure 69 continues that requirement, but eliminates requirements that the matched funds be appropriated from the State's General Fund. The measure would allow the matching funds to come from any source other than the proceeds from other general obligation bonds issued by the state. Ballot Measure 69 does not change the process by which bonds are authorized for capital projects.
This measure continues and modernizes the state's authority to use general obligation bonds, the lowest cost method of borrowing, to finance projects for community colleges and public universities. It does not increase the current limit on borrowing. The measure clarifies that community colleges and public universities may purchase existing buildings with the proceeds of general obligation bonds. It also allows the Oregon University System to use non-tax revenues to determine whether bonds to be issued under Article XI-F(1) are self-supporting. The measure allows Article XI-F(1) and XI-G bond proceeds to be used for the same parts of a project and to be used for mixed-use projects that benefit higher education. It allows nontax revenues to be used as matching funds for Article XI-G bond proceeds.
RESULT OF "YES" VOTE
"Yes" vote continues and modernizes state authority to issue lowest cost bonds to finance projects for the benefit of community colleges and public universities.
RESULT OF "NO" VOTE
"No" vote rejects modernization of authority to issue lowest cost bonds to finance projects for the benefit of community colleges and public universities.
ESTIMATE OF FINANCIAL IMPACT
There is no financial effect on either state or local government expenditures or revenues.