December 3, 2018 AAA
Updated: Dec 6, 2018
Dear OSTPDX Members,
Forty seats, folks! And the dust hasn’t settled quite yet. The election fraud being uncovered in North Carolina’s 9th Congressional district could likely result in a new election, raising the possibility that this seat too, could turn blue. That’s a remarkable outcome to the Midterms and it happened because of grassroots organizations’ ground game. The enthusiasm that made this massive blue wave possible continues and will be the key to making 2020 another successful election cycle for progressives. Let’s keep calling our legislators, postcarding and taking actions because there certainly isn’t a shortage of daily outrages that we must continue to challenge in addition to legislative achievements that we’re hoping for.
Governor Kate Brown unveiled her Turning Point: An Agenda for Oregon’s Future, a $23.6 billion budget proposal focused on education, health care, housing and climate change which she says is a once in a generation opportunity to transform Oregon. A budget overview released by her office said “Governor Brown expects the legislature to reform Oregon’s revenue system to adequately fund our education system.” Until then, Onward Oregon has suggested that the Oregon Kicker be suspended and applied to fund our schools. Here’s their message on this quick action that can be taken today:
According to Tax Fairness Oregon “It now looks like the economists’ predictions were short for 2017-2019, and there will be a $724 million KICKER. ” Oregon’s kicker law requires state economists to predict, within 2%, a few months before the two years begin what the state’s General Fund income will be for two years, . That means predicting correctly the state’s income from personal income tax, estate, tobacco, and alcohol taxes.
I don’t think the average family can accurately predict today what they’ll have in total income over the next two years. And families have considerably fewer sources of income than the state. Will you keep that job, get raises, or be laid off? Will you receive gifts, have lottery winnings, or get a kicker? Can you guess all of that within 2% for the upcoming two years? Can a business predict economic trends, supplier prices, the impacts of tariffs and economic growth this accurately? Of course not.
The state’s economists frequently guess wrong. They deal with forecasting a highly complex system with many unknowns: will the nation have a recession, how many rich people will die, will federal taxes change, will the legislature increase cigarette taxes enough that a bunch of people stop smoking, how many people will move to Oregon to be near their adult children who moved here last year and how much they will all pay in income taxes, how much stock will Phil Knight sell and what will his capital gains taxes be, how many employees will Intel and others hire or lay off? There are simply too many variables to predict business or personal incomes within a 2% margin of error.
BUT WAIT. According to Oregon’s unique KICKER law enacted in 1979, when actual revenues are more than 2% lower than the economists’ estimate, we don’t pay higher taxes to make up the difference. Instead there are cuts: to schools, foster care, clean air enforcement, public safety, and the like. But when revenues are more than 2% higher than economists estimate, the KICKER kicks: the excess is given to taxpayers.
This weeks’ revenue forecast expects a $724 million fund for the Kicker. “The bottom 20% of taxpayers will get an average of $13. Those with more than $400,000 in income will get over $7,175 each.”
HERE’S THE SCHOOL OPTION Lawmakers can, if 2/3 of them agree, put that $724 million into such things as reducing class sizes, adding school days, and bringing back art and music education Let’s push our legislators to suspend the KICKER for now and use the estimated $724 million money to improve education for Oregon’s children. Call your legislators
Onward, The Team from Onward Oregon
If you haven’t yet had a chance to review the new Indivisible 2.0 Guides, Indivisible On Offense and Indivisible States, they offer some great insight into what direction the Democratic Party is headed and how to get there. There’s a huge emphasis on State Legislative Advocacy in the States Guide so stay on top of things by signing up to receive email updates from the Oregon State Legislature.
The next OSTPDX meeting will be held on January 8th at 6:45 p.m. at The Subud Center. Further details for the meeting will be announced soon.
OSTPDX Activist Reading Group’s next meeting:
What: The reading will be: “Winners Take All: The Elite Charade of Changing the World” by Anand Giridharadas.Lenny Dee recommends this video that summarizes the book: “A fabulous half hour speech by the author of Winners Take All:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IP7HajXJD3s“When: Thursday, January 31 7:00 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at:Where: 3082 NE Regents Dr, Portland, OR 97212
Call Chuck Schumer’s office at 202-224-6542 to let him know that that you oppose appointing Joe Manchin, fossil fuel supporting Dem Senator from West Virginia, to lead the Energy and Natural Resources Committee because it could have disastrous consequences to our increasingly vulnerable climate.
Resist Trump Tuesday: December 4th from 11:30-12:30 at Senator Merkley’s Office
Weekly Postcard Party: Thursday, December 6th at 5:00 p.m. at Oregon Public House
Rep. Schrader Office Visit: Wednesday, December 12th from 3:00-4:30 p.m.
Holiday Gifts for Local Refugee & Immigrant Community: Saturday, December 15th from 11:00-1:00
Check out our website – www.onesmallthingpdx.org – like our Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/One-Small-Thing-150519055702228/ — follow our Twitter account — @onepdx.