Over the weekend, hundreds of Oregonians gathered at standing room only town halls in Salem and Portland to tell legislators that cuts to schools and services are unacceptable while Oregon remains dead last in corporate taxes. Nurses, parents, teachers, homecare workers, students, and advocates alike asked electeds to put Oregon families before corporate profits.
Because Oregon is 50th in corporate taxes, legislators are facing a $1.8 billion budget shortfall that could mean kicking 300,000 people off the Oregon Health Plan, increasing class sizes and college tuition, and cutting funding for mental health and addiction programs.
In Salem, Raquel Martinez shared the story of what those cuts would mean for her daughter, who was born with a rare genetic disorder called Trisomy 5p.
“Doctors didn’t expect her to live past 2 years old,” Raquel said. “But today she is 15 years old and that is because of the support of services like affordable health care, DHS, DDS, and medical fragile Children’s Unit. Without these supports, my daughter’s health, safety, and life are at risk. Without these services my daughter would not be able to thrive and do as well as she is doing today.”
In Portland, Brent Finkbeiner, Army Veteran and PCC student, shared the importance of funding Veterans Resource Centers at college campuses.
“The only reason I’ve come this far is due to the love and support from my community,” Brent said. “I was diagnosed with PTSD in 09 after my deployment to Iraq. Mental health services saved my life but it was higher education that restored my purpose.”
Sarah Ferguson, a teacher in Salem, described the impact of Oregon’s class sizes — the third largest in the nation.
“In our district, teachers have 35, 34 students in early elementary classes,” Sarah said. “When a kindergarten class has 34 students, it becomes less about teaching and more about crowd control. In order for each child to get the one on one attention they need, we need smaller class sizes. Cuts in our education budget would make these smaller class sizes impossible.”
Sarah, Brent, and Raquel need our help urging legislators to invest in Oregon families and protect the services they rely on. The budget town halls continue across the state this weekend and we need your help. Come share why investing in Oregon families is important to you!