By Scott Moore of Portland, Oregon. Scott is communications director for Our Oregon.
If you’ve been even half paying attention, you’ve seen a flood of news items over recent months about school closures, hundreds—if not thousands—of teacher layoffs, and deep cuts to services that middle-class families depend on, all thanks to budget cuts approved by legislators.
For obvious reasons, these cuts are wildly unpopular with voters, who believe they elected legislators to protect their priorities: schools, health care, public safety, protecting our natural environment, and preserving jobs.
So as we’re facing deep and deeply unpopular budget cuts, what politician in their right mind would support giving away even more scarce tax dollars to large corporations and investment firms?
On Tuesday, the Oregon House is expected to vote on Senate Bill 817, which would give away as much as $78 million to private investors—without any requirement that even a single job be created. (See Chuck’s earlier post for more information about the bill.)
At a time when Oregon is facing thousands of teacher layoffs and dozens of school closures, we can’t afford to hand out more in tax breaks to big corporations.
Under SB 817:
There is no provision for the State of Oregon to recoup any of its money if a company takes the tax credit and then moves out of state.
There are no job-creation requirements, so we can’t hold corporations accountable for their use of our tax dollars.
While it’s billed as a “low-income area job creator,” the definition of a low-income area is so broad that it could even apply to a ritzy Portland hotel.
The Legislature has already given away $93 million in tax breaks to corporations this session, all while cutting schools and critical services that middle-class depend on.