TABOR (the ironically-named "TAxpayer's Bill Of Rights") has qualified for the ballot. Without going into the horrible details of the measure, I'll note that it pegs the state's spending at a level that can only increase with population and inflation rates.
Never mind that TABOR neglects to stipulate that spending must increase at those levels as well... which allows for this little very-generalized trap:
But what really irks is knowing what Oregon would be like today if TABOR had been in existence earlier, say 1862. Let's step into the Way-Back Machine and find out, shall we?
1862: Governor John Whiteakre addresses the legislature's third session, and announces that the spending for the biennium reached $55,372. That's a pretty good load of cash back then. With the population booms and runaway inflation rates, it'll no doubt increase dramatically. The US Census reported Oregon's 1860 population at 52,465. In 1870 it was 90,923. Interpolating a value for 1862 gets us a population of 60,156. (Assume an increase of 3,845 each year.) That's a state budget of $0.92 per person. And, adjusting for inflation, that's $18.90 per person.
So with Oregon's current population of 3,421,400, that's a grand state budget of $64,664,460.
True, this is layman-grade research. My methods use data from varying sources, and I do not take into account that severe economic downturns would have pushed that rate down even further. But the ballpark we're looking at is a state budget of under a hundred million bucks -- less than 1% of the current budget.
So my standing challenge to TABOR supporters is this: Draft up how, exactly, you would spend $100 million per biennium... or present data that show how a TABOR in the original Oregon Constitution would not have limited the state to such a pittance.