This upcoming November election is going to be one of the most important in recent memory. Certainly the presidential election looms large in our minds, but our own state’s election will be just as important. I’m not just talking about the Governor’s race, or even my own campaign for re-election, I’m talking about Measure 97, also known as the “ A Better Oregon” campaign.
Measure 97 seeks to raise the state’s corporate minimum tax to 2.5% on large corporations doing business in Oregon with in-state sales above $25 million – businesses like Comcast, Monsanto, Walmart and Bank of America that should be paying their fair share in Oregon. The measure will generate an estimated $3 billion each year for education, senior services, and healthcare.
This is the right approach for Oregon. Our state ranks fiftieth, dead last in the country in corporate taxes. That’s right, 50 out of 50! That means, more than any other state, we are asking our citizens to shoulder the burden of financially supporting our public education, healthcare system, and care of our seniors.
Measure 97 will help move us from dead last to somewhere in the range of 40 out of 50 – still making Oregon competitive in comparison to all of our neighbors. At this level of taxation, Oregon will continue to attract large, multinational corporations to do business in our state, while at the same time providing robust funding for good schools, affordable healthcare and better access to services for senior citizens.
The need is real. Our state ranks 48 out of 50 in education spending. We have one of the shortest school years in the country, the third largest class sizes and the fourth lowest graduation rate among all 50 states. As a policy maker and a parent who has raised two children from kindergarten through high school in Portland Public Schools, that is unacceptable.
Over the course of my son and daughter’s academic career, each of my children has lost a full year of education due to shortened school years and furlough days resulting from budget cuts. Again, that is unacceptable.
I want something better for the next generation of families in this state – better then what my family experienced. I ran for the legislature because I want to make real, substantive changes that improve people’s lives. That’s why I volunteered to collect signatures to help get this measure on the ballot. Strong schools and access to healthcare and services for senior citizens are a big part of making people’s lives better, none of which are possible if our state does not make the financial investments that are needed.
I hope you’ll join me in voting yes on Measure 97 in November.