Last week the governor addressed the House Republicans and requested an additional $275 million in tax increases. He promised that if Republicans joined the Democrats in voting for tax increases the additional revenue would enable the legislature to help K-12 schools, community colleges, universities and youth mental health programs. In other words, “it’s for the kids.”
I reminded the governor that:
1. The Democrats control the spending priorities and drafted the state budget;
2. There is a $1.9 billion (12 percent) increase in the 2013-15 budget over the current one; and
3. Less than 2 percent of the $16.5 billion state budget is all he wants, and certainly he could find such a small percentage in the state budget “for the kids,” without raising taxes on Oregonians.
I also reminded the governor that notwithstanding the $1.9 billion of additional revenue, he and his party are once again holding the K-12 school budget hostage and acting like a tax increase is required to fund it. It’s an obvious set-up. If the Republicans fail to agree to the proposed tax increases, the Democrats will, once again, play the blame-game and accuse Republicans of hating children, hating schools and hating seniors. What a farce.
So, if you read political “spin” about how the Republicans failed to provide enough money for the kids, and for the mentally ill and for the seniors, remember the $1.9 billion in extra revenue. Remember which party wanted to fix PERS. Don’t forget to remember.