Rep. Sal Esquivel, R-Medford, Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend and Sen.Ted Ferrioli, R-John Day continue to spew false information to voters that there is a pot of gold laying around in the state "ending fund balances" with Telfer stating "there are billions for use at the legislature's discretion." in their "No on 66/67" campaign statements.
Secretary of State Kate Brown weighed in, "Make no mistake about it: These dollars are subject to federal restrictions, as well as statutory and constitutional spending constraints. These include transportation funds that cannot, under the law, be spent for general-fund purposes, such as schools or prisons." On Thursday Secretary of State Brown sent out a news release calling the claims "wildly inaccurate" as reported by Harry Esteve of the Oregonian.
Ken Rocco, the legislative fiscal officer stated, "The vast majority of the funds are tied up in special kinds of trust funds, revolving loan accounts and other restrictions.
William K. Jaeger, a specialist in applied economics at Oregon State University wrote in the Statesman Journal on 1/17/10:
- Oregon's public school systems have an average student-teacher ratio that ranks Oregon 49th out of 50 states.
- Oregon ranks 44th out of 50 states in terms of taxes as a share of personal income.
- Oregon ranks 43rd when state and local taxes (including property taxes) are combined.
- Oregon is ranked 50th, with the lowest net business taxes in the country by the international consulting firm Ernst and Young.
The shifting reasons and explainations by the "No" campaign and in particular legislators who have spoken out in favor of voting No on measures 66 and 67 will face difficult races to keep their seats. Conservative rhetoric aside, the facts speak for themselves. It is not OK to fool tax payers into believing there is a pot of gold when there isn't one. The stance taken by R-Esquivel, R-Telfer and R-Ferroli is an extremist and reckless trap because even if 66 and 67 pass Oregon school districts will remain about $550 million below essential funding levels.
In other words, Esquivel, Telfer and Ferrioli are for larger class sizes, fewer teachers, shorter school years and inadequate policing.