Oregon Budget Madness: A shot to make history

It’s been a hard-fought Oregon Budget Madness tournament, with legislators making heartbreaking, often down-to-the-wire decisions that have sidelined important programs and left us with a classic matchup in the finals: Oregon’s Dead Last Corporate Taxes vs. Fully Funding the Quality Education Model.

There’s no heavyweight quite like Oregon’s Dead Last Corporate Taxes, whose arsenal includes a deft ability to dodge and pivot when corporations are faced with pressure to pay their fair share in taxes. They’re so good, in fact, that 550 corporations used loopholes and tax credits to pay $0 in Oregon income taxes in 2014. Talk about a slam dunk. Oregon’s Dead Last Corporate Taxes rely on a powerful defense and an ability to finesse the truth — that they aren’t paying their fair share for the very schools and critical services they rely on.

Then there’s Fully Funding the Quality Education Model, a team nearly everyone claims to support but that often finds itself overpowered by corporate interests. For more than two decades now, Oregon students have lost out as our class sizes have risen to the third largest in the country and our graduation rates have plummeted to the third lowest. Oregon is still $2 billion short of fully funding its schools and with more teacher layoffs looming, it’s more important than ever that legislators make the right play and choose to invest in our students.

So who wins Oregon Budget Madness? No one — yet. That’s up to Oregon legislators, who have a chance to make history this session. They can finally pick the deserving underdog and help Oregon families get ahead by investing in our schools and critical services. Or they can keep Oregon’s corporate taxes the lowest in the nation while families struggle just to get by. We think the choice is clear.

It’s time to stop the madness and break the cycle of picking winners and losers and pitting critical services against one another. It’s time to flip the script and champion Oregon families over Oregon’s dead-last corporate taxes. It’s time to step up.

Oregon legislators, the ball is in your court.

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