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The state legislature did not have to rewrite Bill Sizemore’s property tax measure because it was “poorly written” or “too ambiguous to implement.”  

The media still makes this claim to this day, but there is literally no truth to it. Several state legislators made this claim and Sizemore called them out publicly and they all backed down. In the Spring of 1997, Bill Sizemore appeared before the Joint House and Senate Revenue Committee, which had been assigned the task of implementing Sizemore’s measure. In a crowded hearing room, Sizemore boldly challenged all eleven members of the committee to say it to his face that his measure was ambiguous. He asked them to point to even one provision of Measure 47 that they did not or could not understand. Not one representative or senator would speak up, even though Sizemore sat there waiting patiently and looking them in the eye one by one.  

Even though that public face-to-face confrontation was the high drama of the entire 1997 legislative session and even though there were several reporters in the room, not one of them reported what happened. They continued to report that Sizemore’s measure was poorly written and too ambiguous to implement. A week or so later, Sizemore went to the committee chairman, Rep. Tom Brian, and without explaining why he was doing so, suggested that the committee rewrite his measure in language they liked. The chairman declined to do so unless Sizemore agreed to sign off on the finished product and to campaign for it when it went to the ballot. Sizemore agreed to do so provided that the rewrite contain every major provision of his original measure with only one substantive modification.  

The rewrite was actually a trade off. Sizemore told Rep. Brian that he would agree to a $200 million reduction in the tax savings contained in the original measure if the legislature would agree to send the rewrite to the ballot with a two-thirds vote of both the House and Senate. Sizemore says the rewrite was a win/win. The legislature got $200 million more to play with (out of $1.1 billion savings in the original measure), and Sizemore and the taxpayers of Oregon got a referral that put the rewritten measure beyond the reach of the courts. At that time the courts were looking for any excuse they could find to toss measures they didn’t like. However, with a two-thirds vote of the House and Senate and a majority vote of the people of Oregon the entire state constitution can be rewritten and the courts can’t nullify the measure for containing more than one subject. That’s what Sizemore was after, though he never told anyone in the legislature what his real motivation was in proposing the rewrite. Sizemore got his two-thirds vote and the measure passed and has since saved Oregon property owners more than $10 billion in property taxes.

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Bill Sizemore Facts

| Bill Sizemore’s ballot measures have reduced property taxes on Oregonians by more than $12 billion and income taxes by more than $3 billion. Average property owners could buy a new car with the money Bill Sizemore’s tax cutting measures have saved them over the years. Many elderly Oregonians have stated that they would have lost their homes had Sizemore’s measure not passed. |


| Bill Sizemore’s approach to preventing government from using the power of eminent domain to forcibly take property from one private property owner to sell it to another private entity passed with more than 80 percent of the vote. Most Oregonians were never told that they were voting on a Bill Sizemore measure. |


| Contrary to claims many union leaders have publicly made, Bill Sizemore does not owe any money to the public employee unions. None whatsoever. At one time he owed them more than $4 million, but that judgment was overturned on appeal. Claims that he owes the unions money are totally false. |


| Contrary to statements made in the newspapers and on television, Bill Sizemore has never been convicted of fraud, forgery, and racketeering. In fact, he has never been so much as accused of or charged with any of those crimes. Union spokespersons have repeatedly made those claims and led many to believe them, including some reporters, but there is not a shred of truth to them. |


| Bill Sizemore was not pursued in court because of things he did wrong; in fact the opposite is true. The teachers unions chief attorney confessed to Bill Sizemore in a mediation session in the Multnomah County Courthouse that the unions were not really suing him for money; they just wanted him out of politics. The public employee unions were spending tens of millions of dollars fighting Sizemore’s conservative measures and wanted to put an end to his efforts to put measure on the ballot. The unions literally tried to bribe Sizemore out of politics. They offered not to collect on the multi-million judgment Sizemore owed them (at the time), if he would just sign an agreement to stay out of politics for 16 years and drop his appeal. Sizemore rejected that offer and eventually won the appeal. |


| Teachers unions sued Bill Sizemore and his organizations for more than a decade with proceeding after proceeding, and yet not once was he ever actually a defendant before a jury of his peers. Anytime Bill Sizemore was a defendant in a proceeding, the State and the teachers unions used legal maneuvers to ensure that he could not make his case before a jury. Even when Attorney General John Kroger prosecuted Sizemore for filing his state tax returns late, the court ruled that Bill Sizemore would not be able to testify in his own defense or tell the jury why he could not yet file his state tax return or even tell the jury that he and his wife had paid more than $50,000 in estimated taxes while they waited to file their returns. The court left Sizemore with no choice to plead guilty. That same court later reduced the charges, retroactively, to mere misdemeanors. |


| For more than a decade, liberal Portland judges ordered Bill Sizemore not to raise and spend any money on politics. Their injunctions were blatantly unconstitutional and yet three times Sizemore was held in contempt of court for lawfully raising and spending money to place measures on the ballot. The liberal Oregon Supreme Court upheld the injunctions or simply refused to hear Sizemore’s appeal of the harsh restrictions he faced. However, when Sizemore filed a civil rights case in federal court and appealed the case to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco, the Oregon Department of Justice and the teachers unions dropped their lawsuits and their injunction, and overnight more than a decade of legal harassment simply disappeared. |


| The judge who presided for three years over the teachers union lawsuits against Bill Sizemore’s organization concealed for that entire time that his own son was a high level activist in the same union that was suing in his dad’s court. Only when it was going to become public knowledge that his son had been elected to the position of union president did the judge withdraw from the case. Notwithstanding the judge’s blatant conflict of interest, other Oregon courts allowed all of the judge’s biased decisions and personal attacks on Bill Sizemore to stand. |


| Contrary to a long held Oregon legend, the Oregon State Legislature did not have to rewrite Bill Sizemore’s property tax measure because it was poorly written. The rewrite was actually Sizemore’s idea, one he put forth to place Measure 47 beyond the reach of the courts and lock in nearly 90 percent of the savings the measure had enacted. The story that Sizemore’s measure was poorly written has been perpetuated by the media, but it is, like so many things commonly said about Bill Sizemore, simply not true. |


| Bill Sizemore has been busy writing books while taking a break from Oregon politics. As of February 2016, two of his books have been published and two more are expected to be completed by the end of the year. One of the books to be completed this year is an autobiography. |