With limited exceptions, the Oregon Constitution prohibits the state from incurring general obligation debt. Ballot Measure 86 amends the Oregon Constitution by adding an Article directing the Legislature to create the Oregon Student Opportunity Fund and allowing the state to issue general obligation bonds to capitalize it.
Except in a declared emergency, only the earnings from the proceeds of any bonds issued for the Fund, after issuance and administration costs, can be used to provide financial assistance to Oregon students pursuing post-secondary education, including technical, professional, and career training. The Article also allows other gifts or bequest to be added to the Fund, but only the earnings from those sources may be used for financial assistance.
Any bonds issued would be a general obligation of the state and backed by the full faith and credit and taxing power of the State of Oregon, but not including the power to levy an ad valorem (property) tax.
Repayment of bond principal and interest shall be from the state General Fund, which comes primarily from individual and business income taxes.
Bonding for the Fund is limited to a maximum of one percent of the real market value of all property in the state. One percent of the current real market value is approximately $4.3 billion. The measure does not authorize a specific issuance of bonds. Any such issuance would be through additional legislation and subject to the total debt limitation of the state.
If the Governor declares an emergency and the Legislature, with four-fifths approval in both houses, passes legislation authorizing it, money in the Fund may be used temporarily for emergency purposes, such as bond repayments and interest, or any other legal purpose. If the Legislature authorizes use of the Fund money for other legal purposes, the Legislature must approve a plan to replenish the Fund on appropriate terms.
Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote amends constitution and requires legislature to establish fund for Oregonians pursuing post-secondary education, career training; authorizes state to incur debt to finance fund.
Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote rejects authorization for state to extend credit and incur debt to create dedicated fund for Oregon students pursuing post-secondary education and career training.