The first challenge to the Student Success Act has reared its head.
Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce, a business lobby association representing manufacturing and timber companies, filed paperwork Thursday, May 30, to challenge House Bill 3427. Under Oregon law, the group needs to gather approximately 75,000 signatures from voters.
Education stakeholders, legislative leadership and Gov. Kate Brown expected a challenge, but signature gathering in Oregon can be expensive. With the state’s premier business lobby, Oregon Business & Industry, staying neutral on the tax after winning several concessions, a big question remains whether this ballot challenge will be able to gather the funds to mount a vigorous campaign.
HB 3427 proponents, including Nike and Our Oregon, have made it clear that they will vigorously defend the act.
If the challenge campaign were successful, then under Oregon law the vote would default to the 2020 general election. As happened with Ballot Measure 101 in 2018, though, the Legislature can set a special election date. Many legislators expect the election date would be set in January 2020.
OSBA was a strong supporter of HB 3427. If voters overturn the act, it would jeopardize both the $2 billion a biennium the act invests in education and the $200 million it will send to the State School Fund.