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Investments in Education are Promising; Room for Improvement Remains

Commentary

Underinvestment in Oregon’s education system has left generations of Oregon’s children without the services and support they deserve. The package of education investments proposed by the Joint Committee on Student Success promises tremendous strides towards addressing the long-term underfunding of Oregon’s schools. The education investments would benefit children across our state and the package explicitly targets two populations where Oregon most desperately needs to invest: low-income communities and communities of color. Two examples are additional funding for higher poverty school districts and early childhood education for culturally-specific organizations to help address those existing disparities.

At the same time, legislators should recognize that the needs of Oregon’s students extend beyond the proposed investments. The Joint Committee should build upon the strong foundation included in the package to push even more resources into Oregon’s education system. One opportunity to add additional revenue to the package would be to include Complete Reporting, which would raise hundreds of millions from the largest multinational corporations and their wealthy shareholders.

The other opportunity for lawmakers to improve upon the education package is to include more targeted tax relief for low- and moderate-income Oregonians. A refundable tax credit targeted to the poorest Oregonians and seniors would keep these members of our community from falling further behind as they struggle to make ends meet. And we believe the package should expand Oregon’s Earned Income Tax Credit to help low-wage working families meet their basic needs.

The existing education package is promising and historic. Lawmakers should build on this foundation by expanding the investments and targeting tax benefits to Oregon’s poorest, seniors, and working families.

Posted in Education, Taxes.