Wednesday, April 17, 2002
Oregon's unbalanced tax system is incapable of generating the cash necessary to adequately fund public education. The passage of Measure 5 in 1990 shifted the burden of school funding to the state. This resulted in pitting the funding requirements of public schools against needs of other vital state government programs and services. Even during a decade of unprecedented state economic growth, and despite the efforts of the legislature to make public school funding a priority, school resources have not kept pace with inflation. Current K-12 school funding falls short of providing the resources necessary to assure students the opportunity to achieve the level of academic achievement set for them by Oregon's Educational Act for the 21st Century.
Current economic downturns highlight the need for OUR state leadership to address the imbalance in Oregon's tax structure in a way that will assure long-term, stable and equitable school funding. State officials keep coming up with ill conceived, half baked, short term patches to school funding. It is time to redo Oregon's tax structure, remove schools from the general fund, that means a new tax code, not just a new tax!
Measure 13 only converts the Education Endowment Fund into a "rainy day" fund and then spends most of the money. This is a one-time patch and sets schools up for an even larger shortfall in the near future. Raiding the trust fund is not a sound way to balance a budget short fall and does nothing to set a stable course for the future.
We the residents of the state of Oregon need a new tax code to achieve long-term adequate and stable school funding. If we are NOT willing to pay for this then we should start preparing our kids for a future of minimum wage, part time, gas pumping, hamburger flipping and room cleaning jobs in the service industry.
John W. Phillip