Job creation must be a priority

Mike McLane

Rep. Mike McLane

Oregonians continue to struggle to find work. New numbers from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics this week said that 173,000 Oregonians were unemployed in 2012. In addition, another 167,800 Oregonians were underemployed or unemployed but not counted.

That’s more than 340,000 Oregonians who want a full-time, good-paying job.

Further, for those Oregonian who are working, our per capita income lags behind Washington, our neighbor to the north. According to research by the Oregon Employment Department and the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average Oregonian earns $6,500 less than the average Washingtonian.

Imagine if we could create new, high-paying jobs in Oregon. More Oregonians would be working, which means more Oregonians would be paying taxes. The result would be more support for our schools, our police departments, and our local services. It would place Oregon’s budget on a firm foundation.

Some in the legislature are focusing on tax increases when the real, long-term solution is to create high-wage jobs. The Oregon Legislature must refocus its priorities on the need for more jobs in Oregon. Our families continue to struggle, and too many Oregonians remain out of work or underemployed.

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