by Ashley Bromley, Incoming Executive Director
We thank Speaker Kotek and Chairs Nathanson and Barnhart for their work in advancing the Oregon Education Investment Initiative, a plan to invest in education and other critical services through a more just tax structure.
Increased Revenue from a Corporate Activities Tax
The plan would generate an estimated $2 billion in additional revenue for the 2017-2019 biennium by replacing the current corporate income tax with a corporate activities tax of 0.95% on all corporations doing more than $5 million in Oregon sales. Shifting some of the tax burden away from Oregon families will allow for an income tax reduction for low- and middle-income Oregonians while providing a more stable revenue stream that is less vulnerable to boom-and-bust economic cycles.
Investments in Education
The proposal calls for $1.4 billion of the increased revenue to be invested in education. $1 billion of this would be invested in K-12 education, making it possible to lengthen the school year, reduce class sizes, and improve education delivery for young Oregonians. $250 million of the increased revenue would be directed toward early childhood education to guarantee that more Oregon children get the head start they need to get the most out of their education. Finally, $250 million would be directed to higher education. This investment would offset tuition increases, increase student financial aid, and help fund the Oregon Promise. As workers in the Oregon higher education system, we know first hand the necessity of such an investment.
Beyond investments in higher education, the Oregon Education Investment Initiative would also allow for fully funding Measures 96, 98, and 99 ($350 M) and investing in underfunded critical services ($250M).
Cost Containment and Targeted Cuts
In order to be politically feasible, the proposal also includes plans to realize savings through $400 million in cost containment and $250 million in targeted cuts. Labor groups, including AAUP-Oregon, are engaging in productive conversations both internally and with our legislative allies to ensure that savings do not come at the expense of vulnerable Oregonians. We will work with our partners to ensure that cuts and cost containment measures are sensible and advance a budget that invests in education and workers.
Fight for Investment
Taking the Oregon Education Investment Initiative from an initial proposal to final legislation will require significant work over a short period of time. We need both our members and our legislative allies engaged in the process! You can help ensure that Oregon makes this critical investment in education by:
- Thanking the leadership who is working to invest in education. They need to know we support this proposal and that we will fight for its passage.
- Joining with AAUP-Oregon members and our allies within the A Better Oregon Coalition on June 6th to rally for tax justice at the State Capitol. To sign up, please use this RSVP form. Lunch will be provided. So will transportation from Portland, Corvallis, and Eugene. Contact Ashley Bromley at firstname.lastname@example.org for more details.