Ballot Measure 85: Corporate Kicker for K-12 Schools

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On July 6, we turned in more than 200,000 signatures for a statewide initiative petition that will put more funds in Oregon's K-12 classrooms by reforming the corporate kicker. On this page, you'll find information about the measure, including what you can do to help us talk to Oregonians about why we need to reinvest in our schools.

--Read the initiative here (pdf) and the official ballot title here.

--Download our Facts & FAQs one-pager and our In-Depth document

--Organizations: Download our endorsement form here.

--Find out more!

Show your support! Fill out this form to pledge your support for the Corporate Kicker for K-12 ballot measure, and let us know if we can list you publicly.

Fill out our online form.

What does Measure 85 do?
Measure 85 would reform the corporate kicker by putting money into Oregon K‐12 classrooms, rather than back into the pockets of large, out‐of-state corporations. That would mean lowering class sizes and restoring important school programs.

These funds would also help get Oregon schools off of the financial roller coaster and provide more stability, even in economically tough years.

How much money will Measure 85 raise for K12 schools?
In the past two decades, corporate kicker refunds have ranged from $18 million to $344 million. It’s important to note that in many budget years, there is no kicker refund.

The corporate kicker is only triggered when tax revenues exceed the revenue predictions for that budget cycle. If the state economists’ guess is off by more than 2%, corporations get money back (on taxes they actually owe).

Why this measure?
In tough economic times, we need to get our priorities straight. We need to protect children from further cuts to schools and protect seniors from further cuts to in‐home care.

Our schools have been forced to layoff thousands of teachers, students are being crammed into overcrowded classrooms, and we’re leaving the next generation less prepared to compete in the global economy.

Most of the corporate kicker checks go to large, out‐of‐state corporations. Oregon business leaders agree with parents, teachers, and school advocates that we should eliminate the corporate kicker and spend those funds on our schools.

Comments

Schools must be better funded but we cannot afford to tax corporations more when the US tax rate is already the highest in the country, this is cutting into their profit margins and will/is causing them to go overseas. However, first they will go out of state. An increase education won't matter for U.S. or Oregon growth if there are no jobs available for those who are better educated when they get out. Certainly corporations should have to pay taxes but there is a limit to how much that should be. If you don't believe in trickle-down economics to any extent then go ahead and tax corporations at 100% and we will have excellent revenue and not lose jobs. I would argue there is clearly a tax rate which is to high (although it is not clear what the rate is) that you can have which will cause us to see a negative effect on business growth and job creation. I would also argue that the growing trends of corporations going overseas is, in part, a result of us flirting with that line. Let's be careful not to cross it! Education is of the upmost importance for our growth, but we must find another way to fund it, as revenue from corporate taxes is at as high of a rate as we can afford it to be.
A seperate but connected idea would be sense the country is struggling to keep businesses in the U.S., why not give these businesses reason to come to Oregon instead of add the their stress. You want to see growth in the education system off of tax revenue then decrease the tax rate per company by a significant tax rate and we will see a great deal more companys move to Oregon. This will increase the number of companys who are being taxed and with time this number will be high enough not only to cancel out the revenue loss by droping the tax rate but potentially surpass it. Quanity of comapnies taxed=growth...not the percentage taxed per company.

More wealth redistribution is all it is...

Where is the discussion of how we got to this situation? Was it not the millions of new people here that have overcrowded and overworked the public school systems of the state?

With how high the cost is per student and the lack luster performance and .... you want more money??? For what?? Failing??

There is students that care about their education, I am one of them and I don't want my education to be cut I want to succeed.

Apparently you are not an attentive student, your sentence should have read " There are students ....

Read all you can. Work hard learning math, science, history, and grammar. Get your parents involved. You can do all this on your own, you are not dependent on your teachers for a good education. They can help, but you are the one who will make it a success, not them.

"Measure 85 would reform the corporate kicker by putting money into Oregon K‐12 classrooms, rather than back into the pockets of large, out‐of-state corporations. "

Wait, so this measure ONLY effects large, out-of-state corporation?

Whew, for a minute I thought my small, local business in Beaverton was going to be effected.

The correct word is AFFected, not EFFected. Perhaps we should have invested more money in the schools while YOU were in attendance....

When I was a young boy my parents fought long and hard to have their own taxes raised to support the schools that I and my sisters went to. They worked, mostly successfully, to convince their neighbors to support this as well. Now it is my turn. We MUST be willing to support our schools adequately. The idea that school teachers are some kind of overpaid parasites is a total myth! They work hard and long hours to teach our children well and they deserve our respect and support! I say kill the Kicker completely, both corporate and personal, and earmark ALL the money saved in this way for our public schools! The children are the future of our country, and we MUST not shortchange them!

How about public employee union members pay something for their pension plans? Better than raising taxes on employers during a recession.

I am a 61-year old that had to retire at 55 due to complications from cancer. I took out early retirement after working for almost 20 years for the State of Oregon. My current retirement check nets at $1057. I can't even afford health insurance and the State says I "make too much" to qualify for any kind of healthcare. How much money do you think I would be netting if I had to pay for PERS?!! My teeth are rotting and breaking off, I have gotten several abscesses and all I can do is pay $4 for antibiotic and hope for the best. I paid a very high amount of my income to the Union (even though I did not want to belong to it) also. If I had worked in the private industry as a Legal Secretary, my income would jump to at least $2500-3500 with benefits!

So I hardly think you know what you are talking about when you try to put any blame on Public Servants!

Hey Einstein, then why didn't you work in the private industry? It's not our fault you chose to work for less than what you could've earned.

This measure should be opposed. The last thing Oregon needs at this time is increasing taxes on corporations. We need to attract businesses not chase them away.

This petition & ballot measure is being paid for by public employee unions and it is public employees, not schools, who will benefit. Just follow the money.

The best way to help the schools would be to cut out the fat in State government. Indiana has reduced it state workforce by 18%, mostly through attrition and with no noticeable decrease in public services.

Amen! Preach it!

All Oregonians should oppose this measure. It is nothing more than an attack on private sector workers by public employee unions. Who do you think is paying for this effort? This website won't tell you, but it's public employee unions. And who benefits from any money raised from it.......public employees. Just follow the money.

Want more funding for schools? Cut the fat out of state government. Indiana has reduced is state workforce by 18%, mostly through attrition & with no noticeable decrease in public services. There's a good place to start. But public employee unions would rather demonize businesses & increase taxes. We need to attract businesses to Oregon, not drive them out.

It's nice to know that the comments on this page are being reviewed in order to slant opinions towards signing this job killing petition.

AN INCREASE IN FUNDING IS NOT THE ANSWER. THE ABOLISHMENT OF UNIONS ARE. IT'S ABOUT THE QUALITY OF TEACHERS. WE NEED TO BE ABLE TO RID THE SYSTEM OF FUND SUCKING, UNQUALIFIED, SCHOOL EMPLOYEES.

Funding is not *all the answer, but it's a necessary beginning. And there is no way that this is a "job killing" petition, unless you're a believer in the demonstrably false trickle down theory. Sign the petition.

Pay an editor to correct your grammar?

My first act, were I ever elected President of these United States (quite obviously by some fluke of voting or nature), my first Executive Order would be to require all parents to volunteer at least 8 hours per school year in their child's school - and make it a civic duty akin to Jury Duty.

I suspect within the first two hours of volunteering the spurious complaint "Overpaid Teacher" would dissipate forever. Thus we would then assume that this submission above would immediately tell us this person has no children. For the moment, as I am blessedly not burdened with the title of President, we can assume this comment is from someone who has a passing acquaintance with the most important building in his neighborhood.

- J. Barrett
Gresham, OR

You suck!!
Are you a classroom teacher? Do you know anything about what it actually takes to be an educator today? Doubtful! Those "fund sucking, unqualified, school employees" you speak of are extremely few and far between. But we should all suffer for the few bad apples? (there are bad apples in every profession, by the way!) Grow a heart and a brain!!!

Our schools receive enough money. More money does not equate to better test scores and higher quality of education. The japanese school system is much better than ours and spends much less.

Know your facts before sucking more and more money out of the private sector.

http://www.nationmaster.com/graph/edu_edu_spe-education-spending-of-gdp

WHEN THE CORPORATE KICKER VARIES SO MUCH, ($18 - $344 MILLION) THERE NEEDS TO BE A WAY TO PUT MUCH OF THE MONEY AWAY FOR A RAINY DAY.

Thought you'd never ask! It's time to kick the corporate kicker.

I recall marching across the Steele bridge a few years ago, with thousands of education activists, students, and supporters wearing bright red t-shirts. I believe that a benchmark may have been set, with regards to funding matters, that is insufficient for today's current school funding crisis. I now wish to tie this letter, into school funding issues (feel free to edit, thanks).

To begin, I applaud large corporations, such as Intel, Nike, and Boeing, for essentially leading the way, in generous & charitable giving foundations, that support in-kind, private donations of equipment, for public schools, along with other programs that do a lot of good work in our communities. These charitable entities, want to ensure that real progress is first evaluated, in order to justify providing future services. Many non-profits, are struggling to re-define how they fundraise, and how they approach foundations, with their requests.

However, I would hope that these good intentions, do not distract us, from having a real, honest, heart-to-heart ongoing conversation, with local CEO's, COO's, and business leaders & owners, about the importance of voluntarily paying corporate fair tax share, that will benefit local educational districts, who are truly hurting right now. I also wish to distinguish between small, locally owned & operated family business contractors, and that of larger, more vested corporations doing business in multiple states, and/or countries. My focus, is working with the latter, to ensure that a negotiated percentage of local, state, and federal tax revenue, shall ensure the future viability of our public school systems (of which all companies eventually benefit, from having a trained, and educated US workforce).

During one of the worse economic moments in our history, along with high unemployment rates that Portland has ever experienced, why should we be asking more of these companies? It is true, that they do so much, already! However, I believe that the time is ripe for change, due to various factors, but one of the most important that I can think of is this: in tax year 2011, National Exxon corporation, for example, reported record breaking profits, and publicly expressed their embarrassment, for having amassed such a huge bottom line!

To be sure, many of these companies, prior to the great bailout of Wall Street, were already benefiting from government-backed business tax credits, subsidies, and deduction credits, which are ultimately paid for by average taxpayers, of whom are generally earning less than 100K annually. Corporations are pulling jobs out of the US, but they forget about the hand that fed them, when they needed it the most, which is something that our elected leaders, and voters, can remind them of, during this election year! We still have leverage, despite being told that we do not!

Their success, and that of the middle class, were uniquely invented by the federal government, respectively. It is why America, is the greatest country in the world. They receive millions in financial grants, without having to guarantee job creation (Union Pacific, for example) and our political leaders in Washington, DC, are now trying to find incentives, to keep these companies from moving their operations overseas, especially green energy partnerships, upon which China is moving forward, with great speed. Quite disturbing!

Having support from our elected officials, and those candidates running for office, is essential, towards guiding our region to a better vision for our educational system. I can not argue this point. However, I must respectfully digress, when we talk about leveraging existing resources, much of which were predicated from bonds, taxes, and the like. Government at all levels, non-profits, schools, etc, no longer are able to embrace the "doing-more-with-less" concept. In fact, I am starting to hear resignation, in the voices of our teaching providers, for example. They are too busy, being overwhelmed with crowded classrooms, in an underfunded & crumbling learning setting, to be able to think about prioritized allocations.

I humbly accept mandated efficiencies, in all that we are required by law to do (working smarter, not harder, for example) but there is a plateau, that has been finally reached. No more budget cuts, no more shouldering the tax burden, on a shrinking middle class! Without doing the hard work of firmly negotiating with our top business leaders, about what corporate fair tax should look like, we will accelerate our race to the bottom. I support the Buffett rule, for example, that has been proposed by President Barack Obama, but only if the revenue generated, will solve our domestic woes, and not simply go into the coffers of an already bloated military industrial complex.

To conclude, I thank you our PPS Superintendent, for her leadership on all things Portland, and wish her much success. I also publicly ask if she and her peers, would consider a voluntary reduction in her executive salary. Finally, we in the activist community, remain stubbornly committed, towards working for a better world, and a more positive future, in which our children, no longer have to worry about whether or not there will be school in the morning, or if their parents, will still have a job by day's end.

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