by SEIU Local 503
Last week, Oregon’s top budget writers released a gut-wrenching budget proposal that laid out what will happen if the state does not raise new revenue. This budget is a call to action: If Oregon does not address our lowest-in-the-nation corporate taxes, we all will suffer.
Here’s a closer look at the cuts that are on the table.
Healthcare – 27.5% cut
- This budget proposal could kick 335,000 Oregonians off their healthcare plans, which would throw thousands of families into crisis and result in higher healthcare costs for everyone. Health-related programs in Oregon would see reduced funding, including CCOs, hospitals, mental health, public health, addiction services, school-based health centers, and tobacco cessation programs.
Department of Human Services – 8.7% cut
- DHS administers critical programs like child welfare, services for seniors and people with disabilities, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), and Employment Related Day Care (ERDC). At a time when child welfare and other DHS programs are already struggling, these cuts would put thousands of at-risk children and adults in harm’s way.
- Homecare workers and personal support workers, many of whom already live paycheck to paycheck, would see hours reductions. Seniors and people with disabilities would lose access to important homecare services, which many cannot afford to replace.
Education K-12 – 3.6% cut
- The state would reduce spending through teacher layoffs, increased class size, limited class availability for music or physical education, layoffs including library staff, school nurses, counselors and mental health related staff. Oregon already has some of the most over-crowded classrooms in the nation and the third worst graduation rate.
Higher Ed – 1.4% cut
- The state would reduce general support to community colleges and public universities, as well as spending on specific programs. Cuts would likely result in fewer classes, diminished staff, and higher tuition.
Early ED, special ED and career/technical ED – 12.4% cut
- The state would cut funding to early learning programs, such as Head Start and Early Intervention/Early Childhood Special Education. There would be a reduction in service levels for youth development programs and grant-funded career/technical education programs.
Public Safety – 3.1% cut
- The state would close or reduce the capacity of youth correctional facilities throughout Oregon. There would be reductions in drug and alcohol treatment services, drug enforcement funding, and training programs for law enforcement.
Natural Resources – 2.2% cut
- While much of the funding for natural resource programs comes from outside the general fund, cuts will be felt in this area as well. The state would reduce funding for the Columbia River Gorge Commission, the Department of Environmental Quality, the Department of Fish and Wildlife, and the Department of Forestry.
Right now, Oregon families pay for 95% of state services, while corporations pay for less than 5%. The cuts in this budget proposal represent a decision to make harmful cuts instead of addressing the fact that Oregon is 50th in the country in corporate taxes. If corporations paid their fair share, we wouldn’t be making these hard choices. We would be investing in better schools, greater access to health care, and building a better Oregon.
Click here to review the entire proposal: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/lfo/Documents/2017%20Co-Chair%20Document.pdf