In related news, Oregon’s population declines for first time in 30 years and state economist warns of significant revenue loss.
The last time I reported on the Greater Idaho movement—whose goal is to obtain enough signatures and election success to persuade Oregon, Idaho, and the federal government to allow 15 counties to leave a blue state for a red one without having to move—two counties were slated to vote on the issue Nov. 8th.
The votes were tallied, and the Greater Idaho movement has expanded.
Two more eastern Oregon counties have reportedly voted in favor of the Greater Idaho movement.
Its purpose is to convince state legislatures to move the Oregon-Idaho border, turning conservative counties of Oregon into counties of Idaho.
In a Wednesday news release, the movement said it had seen victory in Morrow and Wheeler counties, clinching 60% and 58% of the votes as of that morning, respectively.
At the present time, 11 counties have officially approved the measure. Now, a 12th is poised to take a vote on the issue.
Earlier this week, the Greater Idaho movement submitted a petition that could potentially add its ballot initiative onto Wallowa County’s ballot in May 2023.
Greater Idaho advocates are pushing for the states of Oregon and Idaho to move their borders so that Oregonians who live in more conservative counties can be a part of Idaho, which has historically been dominated by Republican voters.
According to Oregon’s Election Division, new measures are placed on ballots as long as the petition received enough valid signatures.
If Greater Idaho’s petition is successful and makes it onto the ballot, Wallowa County could be the 12th Oregon county — out of the 15 included in the proposal — to vote in favor of moving the state lines. Wheeler, Klamath, Harney and Malheur counties are among the counties who have supported the movement in past elections.
It appears the separation could be amicable.
The movement’s volunteers are asking Oregon Senate president nominee Rob Wagner to allow a hearing on their bill in January. The bill would invite Idaho to begin talks with Oregon on the potential of moving the border. A January 2022 SurveyUSA poll showed that 68% of northwestern Oregon voters thought that the Oregon Legislature should hold hearings on the idea, and only 20% opposed.
The poll also found that a mere three percent of such voters think keeping eastern and southern Oregon in the state is worth the cost. The movement estimates the cost at $500 per northwestern Oregonian wage earner annually.
In related news, Oregon joins the long list of blue states that have seen their populations decline. Interestingly, the last census showed that the state lost people for the first time in over 30 years.
Josh Lehner, an economist with the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis, sounded the alarm bells on what the consequences of this decline would mean.
That might sound like good news to Oregonians who are tired of competing for jobs and housing with out-of-staters. But Lehner said Oregon needs this growth to support local businesses, as well as to grow tax revenues that fund public services like transportation, roads, public health and education.
It also means Oregon economists might need to seriously rethink the math in their economic forecasts, which give lawmakers an idea of how much money they can spend on public programs in the years ahead. The most recent statewide forecast, released in November, expected a positive net migration of 33,757 in 2022 — a sharp difference from the reality. It also calculated state revenues based on a total population of 4.3 million people, about 54,000 more people than the census’s current estimates.
I wish the people of Oregon a ton of good luck in 2023! Like us in California, they will need it.DONATE
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