Oregon can't wait
As a school board member, I know just how dire the next decade will be for public education in Oregon.
Are we going to further strap our school districts with more layoffs and higher class sizes? Oregon already has an alarmingly underfunded education system with some of the highest class sizes, shortest school year and lowest graduation rates in the country.
The Legislature is vetting a tax reform proposal which would replace the corporate income tax with a tax based on receipts — similar to Washington and Ohio. The proposal includes a reduction in personal income tax while generating close to a billion to shore up budget deficits, and devotes 75 percent of the proceeds to education, from early childhood thru K-12 and post-secondary.
There is no greater return on investment than education, whether you look at reduced rates of incarceration, increased workforce readiness or even societal factors such as reduced obesity and improved overall health. And there is no more significant driver of economic development than the quality of our schools.
Contact your state senator and let them know you support the tax reform proposal. We only have a few weeks to make our voices heard.
Hypocrisy starts at the top
Hypocrisy is pretense or sham; a false appearance of virtue or goodness. The Republican Party perfectly demonstrates this condition.
They claim to be guided by the Constitution, but only when it’s convenient for their political goals. Donald Trump, at the top of the pyramid, is a prime example of hypocrisy — time and again arguing on the campaign trail that he would protect health care, for example, only to reverse his position completely when he gained the presidency.
Now he’s pushing Republicans to support the American No-health Care Act. Instead of protecting Americans, he’s decided to deny millions insurance by the Affordable Care Act. He’s sacrificing millions of low-income people, all in order to provide tax breaks for billionaires.
What is it going to take for us to wake up and demand fair treatment from the leaders of this country? Their attitudes reflect bullying hostility and antipathy toward vulnerable Americans.
Counting on DeBoer
Sen. Alan DeBoer voted last week for a bill that will sustain current school funding levels, but won’t reduce class sizes or add extra hours needed to enhance current programs. It won’t assure that fine-arts programs, where students gain self-confidence and increase personal control, won’t continue to be reduced.
This week, DeBoer stated he has proposed a 1.4 percent increase in taxes on corporate profits to gain an additional $530 million for threatened and reduced programs. I support his effort, which will not only strengthen education, but prevent extinction of some needed social service programs. Having larger businesses pay more will ease the tax burden on individuals and small businesses, and assure that citizens of all ages will receive needed services.
This past year the Library Board, on which I serve, helped initiate the Eagle Point School District’s manufacturing technology pilot, which will continue next year. Workforce development training is needed in schools, as well as strong, affordable and accessible education.
Providing the best educational system from early childhood through public universities that Oregon can provide must be our goal. I am counting on Senator DeBoer to continue his efforts to increase funding for education and social services.