Voters in Oregon Reject Sales Tax; Three Mayors Win Primaries

from Associated Press

Oregon voters soundly rejected a proposed 5% sales tax, and incumbent mayors in Seattle, Minneapolis and Manchester, N.H., all defeated primary challengers.

Oregon Gov. Victor G. Atiyeh Wednesday blamed the tax defeat on distrust by state voters, who have rejected sales taxes six other times in the last 52 years. The current proposal failed Tuesday by nearly a 4-1 margin: 643,025, or 77.8%, against, to 183,310, or 22%, in favor.

Asked why, Atiyeh said: “I suppose the first thing to say is history and tradition, No. 1, and No. 2, suspicion of the process.”


$1-Million Campaign

The measure was promoted by a $1-million campaign by a business-backed group, which said the revenues would permit cuts in income and property taxes and stabilize school funding.

But a leading opponent, state Sen. Ed Fadeley, called the sales tax a regressive measure that would transfer the tax burden unfairly from businesses to poorer Oregonians.

The only other states without sales taxes are Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire.

Mayors Victorious

In other elections Tuesday, Seattle Mayor Charles Royer and Minneapolis Mayor Don Fraser each topped a field of eight challengers in nonpartisan primaries to win a spot on the November ballot.

Fraser, a former Democratic congressman, will face the second-place finisher, independent Republican Roger W. Jenson, in November.

Royer, a former television commentator seeking a third term, will face Seattle City Council President Norm Rice Nov. 5.

Mayor Robert Shaw of Manchester, N.H., coasted through a Republican contest. Shaw will face Democrat Peter Poirer, who was unopposed in his party’s primary.