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Jun-10-2009 11:14printcomments

Raise Revenue or Deepen the Pain

The Oregon Center for Public Policy says the legislature must enact HB 2649 and HB 3405 to avoid further harming Oregonians, particularly the most vulnerable.

Oregon's capitol building
Oregon's capitol building
Salem-News.com photo by Tim King

(SILVERTON, Ore.) - 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 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

* 670 children will be cut from Oregon Head Start Prekindergarten, missing out on early education and related services that can provide a solid start in school and life. This cut partially unravels progress made when the legislature appropriated funding in 2007-09 to increase the share of eligible children served from 60 to 75 percent. With the proposed cuts, 1 in 3 eligible young children from poor families will not have access to Head Start.

* Early intervention and special education programs for young children (birth to age 5) with developmental delays, already stretched thin, will not be able to accommodate increases in the number of children needing services. By providing early access to supports such as speech therapy, physical therapy and vision and hearing services, these programs reduce the need for special education later on, helping children get ready to enter school and allowing them to reach their full potential.

Higher college tuition, reduced access to programs

* Undergraduate students at Oregon’s public universities will see their tuition and fees raised. A full-time undergraduate at the University of Oregon, for example, faces a tuition increase of 7 percent each year over the next two years, which will mean an increase of $450 in 2009-10 and another $482 in 2010-11. Those increases will more than cancel out increases in the maximum Pell Grant award provided under the federal stimulus package and federal budget appropriations to help low-income students finance a college degree.

* Community colleges, which are seeing historic enrollment increases as unemployed Oregonians seek retraining, face a 15 percent budget cut. Portland Community College, for example, saw enrollment increase by 18.9 percent in spring 2009, while Central Oregon Community College closed spring term enrollment to new students in late March and reports long wait lists for courses. Students at most schools can expect to see increases in tuition and fees as well as difficulty enrolling in classes.

Impact on children and families

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

* Fewer at-risk infants and young children will be screened for chronic health conditions and developmental delays because of the reduction of the Babies First! Program. The program, which served 11,000 clients in 2007/2008, will see a 38 percent cut in funding.

* Waiting lists will increase for Healthy Start, which helps prevent child abuse and neglect. The program helps parents of newborns gain parenting skills, connect with health care providers and services and create good learning environments for their children.

* Families caring for children with developmental disabilities will lose help in planning how to care for the child at home. The program, which currently serves 1,400 families, is slated for a 35 percent cut.

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

* Children in foster care, shelter care or residential group care will not have access to one-time payments for special or extraordinary needs, such as transportation to visit their parents or clothing.

* Children with special needs who are in the foster care system could experience difficulties in getting a guardianship set up, as payments for special care services are phased out. The cut will affect 113 children. Some may remain in foster care longer than they would otherwise, while others may be returned from guardianship to foster care.

* Adoptions of foster care children will be at greater risk of failure, because the support services that adoptive families receive from the state will be cut.

* There will be fewer opportunities to find better ways to keep children out of foster care or return them to their family sooner, as innovative programs lose their funding source.

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

* The majority of child welfare cases involve parents with addiction issues. With the Family Support Teams program on the chopping block, parents of children in foster care will be less likely to receive alcohol and drug treatment services.

* Local programs to prevent alcohol and drug use among children with parents who have substance abuse problems will no longer get any help from the General Fund. The cut will impact more than 1,500 families.

Impact on low-income Oregonians

Reduced benefits for families with dependent children

* More than 5,100 low-income families with children that are trying to achieve self-sufficiency and stability will see their cash assistance and related services reduced or eliminated.

* Families on cash assistance will have a harder time returning to work as employment and training services are reduced.

Reduced access to child care for working families

* Low-income working parents who receive assistance paying for child care will see their monthly co-pays increase by $5 to $10. In addition, a reduction in the maximum amount the state will pay child care providers will make it more difficult for parents to find stable, quality care.

Reduced access to public health care and nutrition programs

* Adults on Medicaid (OHP Plus) will lose coverage for preventive dental care such as cleanings, fillings, and checkups. Only dental emergencies will be treated.

* The same group of adults, except for pregnant women, will also lose vision coverage.

* 1,382 previously uninsured, low-income families and individuals will lose health insurance premium subsidies.

* Low-income seniors, young children and women who are pregnant or caring for an infant will not get coupons to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at farmers markets and farm stands. In 2007-09, 6,891 seniors, children, and mothers benefitted from the program, while local farmers earned $211,000 in business income from the coupons.

Fewer services for homeless Oregonians

* 1,235 homeless Oregonians will not receive services related to emergency shelters, such as nutritional assistance and referrals.

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

* Developmentally disabled adults will see a reduction in services that help them participate in work and activities outside of their home, allowing them to develop skills and participate in their communities.

* 820 Oregonians with mental illness won’t get help finding jobs or learn new skills that will help them land a job. Without work, some will have difficulty managing their illness and may require more intensive care, including treatment in the state hospital.

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

* Seniors and adults with disabilities will see reductions in “non-critical” services that help them live independently at home, such as medication management, meal preparation, laundry, shopping and transportation.

* Reductions in training and benefits for Home Care Workers will make it more difficult for seniors and people with physical disabilities to get quality in-home care.

Impact on public safety and public safety workers

Cuts to corrections officer training

* Newly hired corrections officers will receive on-the-job training rather than attending a five-week training course at the state training academy in Salem, making it more difficult for them to prepare adequately for dealing with inmates in crowded prison conditions.

Reductions in crime investigation

* 44 detectives who investigate drug enforcement, identity theft and major crimes, including child abuse, will have their positions cut. Although detectives are likely to be shifted into 39 highway patrol positions being added, crime investigations will be curtailed and it is unlikely that counties will have the resources to pick up the work.

* Cuts to the Oregon State Police forensics lab will make it difficult for local police, who rely on the state lab for evidence analysis, to pursue crime investigations.

Fewer resources to supervise and treat youth offenders

* Cuts to slots in youth correctional facilities will shift high-risk youth to community-based treatment, while cuts to community placement funds will reduce resources and treatment options at the local level. The Oregon Youth Authority anticipates that such cuts will lead to more juvenile arrests and more re-arrests. In addition, cuts to the Oregon Youth Authority will eliminate the equivalent of 275 jobs.

This Salem-News editorial closely relates to the OCPP report: Op Ed: 'SEVENTY YEARS' Corporate Dodgeball Far Too Much, Too Long

Source: Oregon Center for Public Policy




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LeraJenkins June 21, 2009 6:58 pm (Pacific time)

It agree, a remarkable idea


Murphy June 17, 2009 7:33 am (Pacific time)

Blaming Bush is only going to go so far. Granted one can push this particular theme to the breaking point and beyond, but at some point when you control the presidency, are in the majority in Congress, the voters are going to wonder what it is YOU are doing, and demand concrete examples of success. So far the solution approach has been more government. But what do you do when the budget is cratering? How can you increase the size and scope of government in the name of fixing the economy when you are soon going to be trillions in the hole?

Bush ruined the United States' standing in the world. Nobody else did it, except the Bush supporters. As far as "big government" goes, Bush grew it more than anyone other President before him. The "big government" thing is just a crock and an excuse, the Republicans are the big government party. Oh and they also tout "freedom" while they rally against a woman's right to choose. Nobody did this except Bush and his team, learn to understand that.


Richard June 16, 2009 2:23 pm (Pacific time)

Editor I pray that you are right. But other than my questions for Henry Ruark, can you name one thing Obama has been involved with that has worked? I frankly am a "half-full glass" optimist, but so far I have heard considerable rhetoric but nothing that has come out of the whitehouse or congress that provides any real solutions to our vexing provlems. If we begin dismantling our domestic energy infrastructure in favor of "green energy" production without a way to meet present and long term energy needs then we will see future brown outs, then black outs (recall what happened to New York City commuters a while back?), then we will have rationing and constantly higher energy costs. The same thing will happen with a national health plan , first there will be serious shortages and then rationing will be commonplace. I am just asking clarification questions which is what we hired our congressional members to do, and what we expect responsible journalists to do. The Stimulus has been a farce so far, but we can recover from that, but energy decline and health care breakdowns will not be recoverable in my opinion. Since there are no plans, and the debate is not transparent, well these are issues that need to be confronted. The below referenced Spanish University study is highly applicable for it is a model being put forward by Obama. It is a failed model.

Editor  I see all kinds of things that are working and I believe most Americans also see those things.  I am not going to write at length about it in this post because our other writers frequently address the things you suggest do not exist.  All I know is that Obama was handed a broke and <i>broken</i> nation that has lost its reputation in the world as being a smart government that does not waste resources and wage needless war.  We have years and years of lies from people like O'Riley and Limbaugh and Savage (excuse me, I want to puke just mentioning his name) and a population that is quick to operate out of fear while not thouroughly examining facts.  Then we get a whole bunch of people, yourself possibly included, who spend endless amounts of time raising questions about things that do not matter.  People are still touting the "birth certificate" line and yet it was supposedly "uncool" to talk about Bush's record as a draft dodger who couldn't even honorably fulfill his obligation to the Texas Guard.  Obama is a friggin' saint in comparison to that guy.  I also believe that no amount of convincing will reach some people.  They don't see how vital it is that we quite polluting the planet and they are monetarily affected by progressive environmental change.  That is not a new story by any means.  Obama is steering us away from Iraq, not correctly in my opinion but again, he is just inheriting it.  I am most pleased by the way he handled relations in the Mideast last week.  The Islamic people have enough problems, we don't need our military forces making things worse.  George W. Bush is responsible for the deaths of over 4,000 Americans in Iraq.  That is what I would consider unforgivable.  I hope some of these points help.   


Richard June 16, 2009 10:55 am (Pacific time)

Henry Ruark can you explain how an overview of Spain's experience with "green energy" does not apply to the United States approach? Obama's suggested green energy approach sites Spain's program as an example. When it comes to nuclear power, can you name anyplace here in the states where we have had a fatal accident? Compare domestic energy accidents with nuclear. Big difference! It appears that France has learned how to do it safely, as have we. Do you have an estimate superior to the Spain university study that shows approximately how many jobs will be gone if and when cap and trade goes into effect? Have you any legitimate sources that shows how we can overcome the problems Europe has had with green energy? I'm asking this because Obama wants cap and trade put into effect immediately and there is no real plan. Just like closing Gitmo or national health insurance. It's all pretty cloudy, like the Stimulus legislation. How many of you out there would feel comfortable if you had a loved one who was being operated on in a hospital that used "green energy?" You know on a cloudy, winless day. There are many industries that require considerable energy to function and no green energy at this time or in the forseeable future will be able to provide it. Pretty crazy pipedream legislation in the pipe that has no real way of working, except to demolish our economy because of massive debt and a diminished free market system that is needed to create the wealth for us to function as a society.

Editor: After eight years of Bush and trillions wasted killing the wrong people, do you think that you can even compare the actions of Obama?  At least this guy's working for Americans and not just big Texas old money


Henry Ruark June 13, 2009 9:23 am (Pacific time)

Corey: Assume you mean "Oops ! WHich fits your meaningless comparisons with other nations --again a constant theme for propaganda-makers. Close comparison, which you wrongly assume simply by your citation of figures fitting only their own national origin, is nearly impossible and highly controversial simply because the nations involved are themselves so radically different. Surely you do not wish to contend that Spain's industrial base is built on same foundations, with same working understandings and attitudes, as ours ? Same point hold perfectly true across the entire erroneous specttrum you cite. In addition to those insuperable "small details", it is surely true that what we MUST DO in the U.S. --and with President O' leadership, we can and will-- must be even more nationally concentrated, consolidated and deeply concerned with first the differces, and then the real needs, of our own working force. Your citation of surveys is misleading, too, since even the providers of all-such, in full candor when pressed, will state the image they provide is properly used "only for that moment in time". (Quote from int/view some years ago with a top-provider then, for LMA client seeking to invest in the concern.He backed away, providentially.) We MUST be greatly concerned especially re great push now to move us towards atomic energy, which hath its rightful place in what we must do but demands far greater safety and citing provisions. Do you contend otherwise ? This time don't forget to sign your stuff...you surely now must feel the need to make sure it is YOURS...even if so easily recognized here in its approach and content. For 5th time, this is direct request for your full ID, to tell us openly and honestly who and what you represent. We await your presentation of that perfectly normal courtesy in any dialog...and without it we must continue to approach all-from-you with the caution we've learned is now demanded here via ongoing full invasion by "eager volunteer: OR paid shill for that very voluminous noise machine now nationally recognized by the FCC's renewed study, not yet acknowlded but known by some to be underway.


Corey Clearwater June 11, 2009 10:48 am (Pacific time)

Opps! Sorry I forgot to sign my name below. To provide additional info regarding my below post, please see link that addresses the below statements. It sure makes you think that we must have some serious and transparent national debate on this subject before we jump into another boondoggle. Nothing like empirical facts based on actual experience to give us a working model. Please note this link refers to a "major international university study": http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/political_commentary/commentary_by_tony_blankley/economic_reality_of_5_million_green_jobs "(The [Obama] administration has referred to "what's happening in countries like Spain, Germany and Japan, where they're making real investments in renewable [Green] energy." ... In March, one of Spain's leading universities, Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, published an authoritative study "of the effects on employment of public aid to renewable energy sources." The report pointed out: "This study is important for several reasons. First is that the Spanish experience is considered a leading example to be followed by many policy advocates and politicians. This study marks the very first time a critical analysis of the actual performance and impact has been made. Most important, it demonstrates that the Spanish/EU-style 'green jobs' agenda now being promoted in the U.S. in fact destroys jobs, detailing this in terms of jobs destroyed per job created... Each wind industry job created in Spain required a subsidy of about $1.4 million. Overall, the average subsidy cost for each green job was about $800,000 (571,138 euros). And to create about 50,000 green jobs, Spain lost 110,000 jobs elsewhere in the economy, principally in metallurgy, nonmetallic mining and food processing and in the beverage and tobacco industries. Each green megawatt brought on line destroyed 5.28 jobs elsewhere in the economy (8.99 by photovoltaics, 4.27 by wind energy and 5.05 by mini-hydropower)... The central finding of the study is that -- treating the data optimistically -- for every renewable-energy job that the government finances, "Spain's experience reveals with high confidence, by two different methods, that the U.S. should expect a loss of at least 2.2 jobs on average, or about 9 jobs lost for every 4 created." So when we hear about new jobs being created, we should consider will this be a net gain or a considerable reduction of jobs in the energy industry?


Henry Ruark June 10, 2009 3:06 pm (Pacific time)

Anon: I note you have so little confidence in your own words that you refuse to sign. WIth that kind of responsibility and accountability, why should we put OUR confidence in YOUR analysis ? IF what you say is true, where's the "see with own eyes" links from international journals and news services to prove up what you present only as personal declaration. Most readers are naturally suspicous of strangers at their living room doon, esp. when they insist on wearing masks while delivering strong and radically-stated messages.


Anonymous June 10, 2009 12:50 pm (Pacific time)

This will be similar to a "vale added tax (VAT)", nationally opined for by Rahm Emmanuels brother, both the sons of a former Israeli Army professional not popular with Muslims). Essentially it will be passed on to the consumer, so prices for everything will be going up. Especially food and other essentials. Then when the cap and trade passes, watch your energy costs spike, and there will be a wholesale loss of more jobs than created if we follow the Spanish model which has been suggested in congress. Spain has lost nine regular energy jobs for every 4 green energy jobs created, plus energy intensive businesses have been leaving the country. They have an unemployment rate approaching 20%. If a national VAT passes then you get double-dinged. In addition they can simply raise the VAT percentage to cover their continued spending (state and federal), which we all know, goes up, not down. This may sound good to many people, but it will be very painfull for everyone no matter your income level. Maybe it's time to start looking at a flat tax and do away with the IRS. I frankly am getting a bit miffed about paying a CPA a lot of money for a process that should not be full of mystery so I have to hire someone to figure my tax bill.

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