Curry County voters appear to have said “no” to one more option to address the county’s fiscal dilemma, turning down a property tax levy.
The levy was the last effective local option to keep the county from going broke on July 1.
Josephine County voters appear to have made the same choice, turning down a public safety levy there after a year with severely curtailed law enforcement in unincorporated areas of the county. In Lane County, a public safety levy appears to have passed.
What happens next is likely to be a choice made in Salem by the governor and the legislature.
A bill pending in the Legislature, and backed by the governor, would allow the state to declare a “public safety emergency,” giving the state the power to impose a public safety system and the taxes to fund it.
Or, they could allow these two rural counties to become a new “Wild, Wild West” with higher crime rates, ineffective prosecution, higher home insurance rates, and lower property values.
It’s hard to tell which choice voters preferred by Tuesday’s results. All we know for sure is that they prefer something other than higher property taxes.