Will Lawmakers Prioritize Oregon’s Middle Class?

Chuck Sheketoff

What someone spends money on says a lot about what’s important to them.

With the end of the 2011 session in sight, the Oregon legislature has shown little inclination to prioritize the needs of middle-class and vulnerable Oregonians. Indeed, some lawmakers believe that it’s more important to spend money on tax subsidies for corporations and the rich.

To be sure, no one expected an easy legislative session, with the Great Recession and weak economic recovery wreaking havoc on state revenues. With more than 90 percent of General Fund dollars going to schools, health and human services and public safety, it was clear that funding for those public structures was at risk. That spelled trouble for vulnerable and middle-class Oregonians.

Still, if protecting them were the priority, then the legislature would not take a cuts-only approach to balancing the budget. They would take a balanced approach that also raises revenue from those with the greatest ability to pay. That would be consistent with the desires of the majority of Oregonians, as expressed in the January 2010 vote endorsing Measures 66 and 67.

Yet, so far, no bill that would raise revenue has even made it to a floor vote.

What did get a vote early in the session and became law was a $93 million tax break for corporations. On top of this, some lawmakers are proposing to expand existing tax subsidies and create new ones that primarily benefit profitable corporations and the rich.

It boggles the mind. . .

Read the rest and discuss here.

Oregon Center for Public PolicyChuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.

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    No, of course not. Even if millions weren't given to push a point, about the only middle-class mouthpiece, unions, have been gutted.

    If you give a police officer $100, do you know what that is called? A bribe. If you give a politician $100, do you know what that is called? Lobbying. (and a pretty bad job at it too...)

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    My greatest thanks to you Chuck for the work that you do. Your voice is invaluable to ordinary Oregonians.

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