McCann v. Rosenblum

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Ballot Titles
  • Date Filed: 05-30-2014
  • Case #: S062154
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: Kistler, J. for the Court; En Banc.
  • Full Text Opinion

Use of the term "tax" when describing money collected by the government was appropriate in a ballot measure, but referring to a "wholesale sales tax" was not because it could be confused with a retail sales tax.

Initiative Petition 58 would alter the way liquor is sold in Oregon by replacing the current system of state-licensed liquor stores with a system that would allow wholesalers to sell directly retailers, replacing the state markup with a tax. McCann and other petitioners argued the ballot title should not use the word “tax,” and instead use the word fee. They further argued the phrase “wholesale sales tax” would confuse voters. The Court held that the word “tax” instead of “fee” as acceptable as it accurately reflected the measure’s effect, but the phrase “sales tax” was misleading as that is commonly thought of as a tax on retail sale, and not on wholesale as in this case. Referred to Attorney General for modification.

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