Both passed by margins of about 53 percent to 47 percent, and were the first tax hikes approved by Oregon voters since 2002. The “Vote Yes for Oregon” campaign, led by teachers unions and public-sector unions, said the measures are needed to balance the state’s estimated $727 million two-year budget shortfall.
Other states are considering so-called “sin taxes,” which typically target smokers, drinkers and gamblers. In New York, Gov. David A. Paterson, a Democrat, has proposed slicing the state’s projected $7.4 billion deficit by, among other things, slapping a tax on soda and adding another $1 to the cost of a pack of cigarettes.