From reading the papers and listening to the news, we are hearing about budget cuts, shorter school years, reduced services, and more budget cuts. Seniors are competing with kids, healthcare is competing with transportation, and the hungry are competing with people with disabilities. The most vulnerable are vying for pieces of a pie that will never feed us all!
But that’s the shell game! We follow the holes in the budget and see that they don’t add up, but we don’t see that the wealth exists in our state, if not in our state’s budget! The real problem is that we are not sharing the responsibility for taking care of our needs. Instead we are trying to balance the budget on the backs of the poor and most vulnerable in Oregon who are exactly the same folks who have been hardest hit by the economic crisis.
On Friday, the newest state budget projections will be published and then the new budget will be released on Monday. We’re going to hear about more cuts. But what we need our legislators to hear from us is not what piece of the pie is most precious to us, but that we want and need a bigger pie!
We need our representatives in Salem to hear that we want corporations and wealthy Oregonians to pay their fair share. We can do this by raising the corporate minimum from the $10 that 2/3rds of Oregon corporations pay and by increasing taxes on the wealthiest of the wealthy Oregonians who make over a quarter of a million dollars. With these two measures, we would go a long ways towards creating a more just system that more fully and equitably shares responsibility for taking care of Oregon’s shared human needs.
Just go to the Oregon State Legislature Page to find your Senator’s and Representative’s contact information or call 1-800-332-2313. If you’re feeling extra inspired, send in a letter to the editor to coincide with the budget news we’ll be hearing in the days to come. Then email firstname.lastname@example.org to let ROP know that you’ve taken action – and so we can personally thank you for not falling for the shell game!