Raise Revenue or Deepen the Pain

Fact Sheet
June 9, 2009 Download PDF

The legislature must enact HB 2649 and HB 3405 to avoid further harming Oregonians, particularly the most vulnerable

The legislature will soon vote on bills that would raise taxes on the wealthiest Oregonians and corporations. If the votes fail, or if the measures are referred to the voters and fail there, middle- and low-income Oregonians — those hardest hit by the economic downturn — should brace for even greater pain than what’s already on the way.

A good indication of the kind of pain that would follow from the defeat of the revenue-raising bills — HB 2649 and HB 3405 — is the harm contained in the budget cuts already penciled in. Those cuts are largely set out in the budget that the Co-Chairs of the legislature’s Joint Ways and Means Committee released in late May.

The Co-Chairs’ budget proposes about $2 billion in cuts, while assuming that there will be an additional $800 million in newly raised revenue to avoid even deeper cuts.

Set forth below are examples, not a comprehensive list, of the cuts in the Co-Chairs’ budget. A table at the end summarizes all General Fund cuts and job losses by state agency. (Complete details about the state budget, including the Co-Chairs’ budget proposal, are available at www.leg.state.or.us/budget/home.htm.)

As the examples of cuts reveal, serious pain is already on the way for Oregonians across the state. Because more than 90 percent of the state’s General Fund budget goes to education, public safety and health care and other human services, most of the cuts fall under those categories. Oregon’s most vulnerable residents — seniors, children, the disabled, the unemployed and low-income families – will be hit hard. Middle-income families will also bear much of the burden. The cuts will eliminate the equivalent of 1,700 state jobs and result in the loss of federal matching funds.

The examples below illustrate only the direct impact of the proposed budget cuts, not their indirect effects. They don’t show, for example, the loss of private-sector jobs dependent on state spending, such as home care workers and daycare providers. Nor do they include cuts to supplies, training, routine maintenance, legal advice, travel and other basic expenses.

With the Co-Chairs’ budget already close to the bone, the legislature needs to follow through on the Co-Chair’s built-in assumption of additional revenue. Failure to enact HB 2649 and HB 3405 will heighten the pain for vulnerable populations.

Impact on students

Reduced access to early child development programs

Higher college tuition, reduced access to programs

Impact on children and families

Fewer supports to ensure babies and children with developmental disabilities are healthy and well cared for at home

Less assistance for children in foster care or to help keep children out of foster care

Cuts to programs that help families struggling with drug and alcohol addiction issues

Impact on low-income Oregonians

Reduced benefits for families with dependent children

Reduced access to child care for working families

Reduced access to public health care and nutrition programs

Fewer services for homeless Oregonians

Impact on seniors and Oregonians with physical or mental disabilities

Fewer supports to help adults with developmental disabilities or mental illness find work and participate in their communities

Cuts to supports that allow seniors and adults with disabilities stay in their homes

Impact on public safety and public safety workers

Cuts to corrections officer training

Reductions in crime investigation

Fewer resources to supervise and treat youth offenders