Oregon’s economy isn’t working for working families, and years of disinvestment have caused a crisis in our classrooms. Oregon has some of the lowest corporate taxes in the country, which have led to year after year of cuts to our schools and services: We have one of the shortest school years, among the worst graduation rates, and some of the most crowded classrooms in the nation. This disinvestment has disproportionately hurt Oregon students in historically oppressed communities, exacerbating existing inequities and failing to create much-needed economic opportunity.
Oregon’s funding crisis didn’t happen overnight — our underfunded schools and services are the product of a decades-old broken tax system. Over time, corporate income taxes as a share of the state budget have dramatically decreased. In the 1970s, corporate income taxes made up nearly 19 percent of income taxes collected by the state. In the most recent biennium, they accounted for just 6 percent. As a result, Oregon has become reliant on personal income taxes than an other state in the county — so working families are not only the most impacted by our underfunded schools and services, they are also paying for for a disproportionate share of those services.
“I’ve seen first-hand how disinvestment has impacted my students.
Larger class sizes, fewer programs, and less time for them to learn. I’d love be able to give my students more one-on-one attention, but that gets harder with year that passes. In my heart, I worry that hundreds of kids are missing out on the opportunity to succeed. We must do better.”
— Heather Anderson,
2016 Oregon Teacher of the Year
This session, we have a chance to turn the tide of underfunding and make game-changing investments in our schools and services. The Invest in Oregon movement believes the policy solution to this problem must adhere to three key principles: It must be a game-changing investment that makes a substantive difference in our schools and services, it must do so in an equitable way that doesn't reinforce existing inequities in our tax system and asks big corporations to do their part, and finally it should ensure Oregonians with more income and wealth contribute a larger share of their resources to support the common good than those with less.
We have a historic opportunity in the 2019 legislative session to strengthen our public schools and create a better Oregon. Join the movement or take action today to make it a reality!