SALEM, Ore. (AP) _ Less than three weeks before the election, the state Supreme Court gave a green light to a ballot question that will ask voters to institute a 5-cent state sales tax to fund education.

Thursday's ruling on Measure 1 overturned a lower court decision that the measure was asking too many things at once and needed to be broken down into more questions to appear on a ballot.

The high court said it was too late for that.

Oregon is one of only five states without a general retail sales tax. Put to a public vote by the Legislature, Measure 1 would enact a 5 percent sales tax to raise $1 billion a year for schools. It also would cut residential property taxes, set a state spending limit, and earmark some lottery proceeds for schools.

Marion County Circuit Judge Albin Norblad had ruled in favor of the lawsuit filed Oct. 4 by Joe Foxall, head of The Executive Club, a Portland area political group, that the question was too complex for one question.

State election officials had argued that breaking up the question couldn't be done within legal time limits, so the Nov. 9 election would have been canceled.