The governing body of Wheeler County, Oregon voted unanimously today to place an advisory question on the ballot regarding the Greater Idaho idea, which would have Oregon cede most of eastern Oregon to Idaho. Citizens in support of this decision overflowed the meeting room at the previous meeting of the Wheeler County Court.
Wheeler County joins Morrow County in voting on the issue this Fall. In eastern Oregon, nine counties have voted for Greater Idaho ballot measures so far, leaving only six counties to vote on the issue. Wallowa County is expected to vote on the issue in May. The most recent county to vote in favor was Klamath County in May. Electoral results in eastern Oregon have been averaging 62% in favor.
The question that will appear on the ballot asks whether Oregon state legislators should use tax dollars to investigate moving the Oregon/Idaho border. Mentioning tax dollars may dampen the electoral results for the Greater Idaho movement, although it’s unlikely that an investigation would cost much, and certainly not for Wheeler County taxpayers.
State legislators have signed up to introduce legislation this year into both states’ legislatures regarding the idea, according to leaders of the Greater Idaho movement. Polling in both states has shown strong support for moving the Oregon/Idaho border.
According to greateridaho.org, the movement’s website, the Oregon Legislature should want to move the border because northwestern Oregonians subsidize the rest of the state since the Oregon budget depends on state income taxes. The website blames this subsidy on the high incomes of northwestern Oregonians, and assures Idahoans that southern and eastern Oregon have the same average income as Idahoans.