Some Big Ideas to Fund Oregon's Priorities

On April 26, we filed numerous initiative petitions with the Secretary of State’s office for the 2014 election.

These initiatives would raise hundreds of millions of dollars to more than $1 billion in funding for Oregon’s classrooms and critical services by raising tax rates on large corporations. Most of these corporations are headquartered out of state, but make a lot of money here—and are essentially getting a free ride.

Find out more about these potential initiatives here.


Tax Breaks: Out of Control Growth

Here's a startling fact: Since 2009, the amount of money the state gives away in tax breaks -- many of which go to big corporations and the wealthy -- has increased by a whopping 29%. According to this year's projections, the state will give away $36 billion in tax breaks this budget cycle. That's a $3 billion increase from the previous budget cycle.


Guess Where Oregon Spends More Money than Anywhere Else (Hint: It's not K-12 schools)

Last week, Scott wrote an article about the Governor's proposed budget. He chiefly noted advocates' disappointment that the proposal (at least, in its first iteration) does not address the $32 billion in tax giveaways that Oregon spends each budget cycle.

In response, one reader wrote:


Governor’s Budget Ignores Out-Of-Control Tax Breaks

In his recommended budget, the Governor has unfortunately ignored the resounding results of election that wrapped just a few weeks ago, and has missed an opportunity to provide real money for schools and critical services by closing big tax loopholes for large corporations and the rich.

The Governor's budget continues the status quo of giving away tax dollars through runaway tax breaks. The State of Oregon currently gives away $32 billion in tax breaks every two years--an increase of $3.4 billion (12%) in just the past few years. 

Reining in these out-of-control tax breaks—particularly for large corporations and the wealthy—could provide hundreds of millions of dollars to fund Oregon’s basic priorities: Our schools, senior care, and the basic services that keep our communities safe and healthy.

In the election that ended just three weeks ago, voters in Oregon and the rest of the nation weighed in loudly about how they expect elected leaders to protect priority services.



Oregon's Forecast: Looking Up

Oregon's latest revenue forecast was released this morning and provided steady numbers of an improving economy. The forecast shows that Oregon legislators will have an additional $30.5 million in the upcoming year (as part of the 2011-13 budget cycle.)

The additional money available to the state budget may provide a glimmer of hope for Oregon's schools, senior services, and public safety programs, which have suffered reduced budgets this cycle.


Local Measures: Where a 'Yes' Result May Not Result in a Yes

Last Tuesday's election results showed that Americans are excited about keeping the country moving forward, at all levels. While President Obama's re-election was certainly one indicator of the nation's mood, many important local issues were decided with the same enthusiasm and spirit.

Here in Oregon, our local results presented a voice worth hearing: Let’s invest in what matters.


Look at all those heads in the sand!

A few weeks ago, we wrote this:

[A] growing body of economic research... suggests that income inequality may be the root of America's economic woes... While the conservative right will almost certainly try to denounce these findings as "bias from the liberal elitite," the truth of the matter is that the reports aren't being crafted by one party or one organization.The reports come from an array of diverse sources, including IMF, internationally renowned economists, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, and dozens more.

Here's the thing -- while we predicted that Republicans would dismiss the findings, we never dreamed that they would try to cover them up.

But according to an article in today's New York Times, that  is precisely what happened.

Here's the scoop:


Measure 84 through cartoons

Two light-hearted ways to deal with a heavy-hearted subject: Measure 84, the latest bad idea from Kevin Mannix.

First up, Meet Alice:


The real impact of Measure 5

There's been a resurgence of interest in the effects of Measure 5, the property tax cap measure that is widely credited with defunding Oregon's schools.

Measure 5 was passed in 1990, and was proposed as a property tax cap and limit. Proponents of this measure failed to mention that the policy would also severely cut public school funding while shifting decisions from local officials to state lawmakers. With limited funds and far-removed politicians making decisions how to use them, school funding has faced troubling trends in the ensuing decades.


Nonpartisan LRO Report: Measure 84 will be Costly

The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) has released their report on the revenue implications of Measure 84, Kevin Mannix's Estate Tax Break for Millionaires.

Their findings? It's gonna cost us.

In short, if the measure passes, it will cost the state between $256 million and $600 million (or more) per biennium, once fully implemented. 

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