This Tuesday night, the DRO Board of Directors voted to support passage of Measure 97. Measure 97 would raise taxes on corporations that have more than $25 million in yearly Oregon sales.
The Board recognized that 97 is controversial. It is concerned, however, that the state budget for fiscal years 2017-2019 is projected to have a $1.3 billion hole. Without additional revenue, it is likely that publicly-funded services for Oregonians with disabilities will be slashed. This would mean cuts to special education, mental health, housing, developmental disabilities, seniors and people with disabilities, employment and physical health services. Efforts by DRO to help Oregonians with disabilities obtain the services they need to achieve greater safety, independence and integration would be frustrated.
The Board also recognized that Measure 97 could result in unintended consequences for some businesses. It felt that no single tax measure can be completely equitable which is why most states have multiple tax strategies. Since Measure 97 creates a statute, the legislature can modify it or pass other laws to address inequities and balance the new tax with existing revenues and expenditures.
Oregonians with disabilities depend on our state elected officials to make decisions about allocation of resources and fair collection of taxes. Elected officials hear from all stakeholders in Oregon and must answer to the voters about their decisions. Our public services need more resources to meet the essential needs of Oregonians with disabilities and there are no other remedies under consideration.
The DRO Board has voted to protect and support those needs.