Oregon Budget Madness: Not-so-sweet 16

Figuring out how to fund schools and critical services in Oregon is no game. But because corporations pay the lowest taxes in the country, every budget cycle Oregon legislators are forced to pick winners and losers. Keep art and PE in the schools or reduce funding for mental health services? Fund career technical education or increase college tuition 10 percent? Kick 350,000 Oregonians off the Oregon Health Plan or slash childcare options?

These are tough choices, and the odds are almost never in Oregon families’ favor. This year, we’ve created our own Oregon Budget Madness bracket. We hope you’ll follow along.

Our tournament works a lot like the real one: Picking the Cinderella team you want to win over the tried-and-true favorite isn’t your best bet. Sure, most folks don’t think the top seed, tax breaks for big corporations, should beat the fan-favorite, funding for affordable housing, but that’s exactly what history suggests will happen.

Each round, we’ll highlight a key matchup. This week …

Oregon’s dead-last corporate taxes VS. Oregon university tuition

The matchup: A perennial powerhouse faces off against the college students just excited to be invited to the dance. Oregon’s dead-last corporate taxes are a heavy hitter for good reason: Constant pressure in Salem and a deft ability to pivot away from calls for accountability. With so much on the line, Oregon universities will put up a good fight — students can ill afford another 10 percent tuition hike — but this one was mismatched from the start.

Predicted winner: Oregon’s dead-last corporate taxes.

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