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Dear Friends,

I grew up loving Oregon. It was a place where our careers, families, and communities were thriving. Today we experience a different Oregon - one with a failing economy, sky-high unemployment, and a faltering education system. But together we can get Oregon back on track. As your State Representative, I'm working for you to make Oregon vibrant once again, because our state can be a trailblazer in our nation's recovery. Please join me - our future depends on it.

 

Representative John Davis Thursday joined other House Republicans in asking their colleagues to reconsider the proposed $7.235 billion K-12 budget for the 2015-2017 biennium, drawing attention to the 7% proportional decrease in education spending compared to the 2003-2005 budget as a share of the General Fund/Lottery Fund state budget.

 

In the 2003-2005 budget, education funding represented 58.7% of a budget of nearly $11 billion, and K-12 education represented 44.7%. In the 2013-2015 budget, education funding represented just 51.6% of a $16.753 billion general fund budget, and K-12 only 39.7% of the budget. And in the Democrats’ proposed 2015-2017 budget – which represents a 10.5% overall budget increase of nearly $1.8 billion more in revenue than last biennium – education funding still stands below 52% of the total state General Fund/Lottery Fund budget, with K-12 funding lagging at 39.1%.

 

 

During today’s House Floor session, Assistant House Republican Leader John Davis (R-Wilsonville) used this floor letter with information from the Legislative Fiscal Office to highlight what appears to be a decreasing commitment to education over the past decade.

 

floor letter

floor letter

 

In response to the reality of an additional $1.8 billion in Revenue, Budget Co-Chair Rep. Peter Buckley called for even more taxes, encouraging the House to “boldly raise revenue.” Rep. Davis pointed to the meager 0.3% increase in education spending as part of the overall budget despite nearly $1.8 billion in additional revenue.

 

Throughout the week, House Republicans have been advocating for a stronger commitment to education spending and will continue to push for a budget that adequately funds schools and provides a quality education for Oregon students.

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Dear Friends,I authored the following op-ed piece that appeared recently in local newspapers -what are your ideas for improving middle-class jobs and incomes for Oregonians?
Check out my ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video from the top of the Standard Plaza in downtown Portland – then make a donation at the ALS Association website.

 

 

 

 

 

Practical Steps to Improve Middle-Class Incomes and Jobs for Oregonians
By State Representative John Davis
     Too few Oregonians are working for too little pay, contributing to income inequality and a stagnating middle-class. That’s what recent data shows, but it’s a trend we can reverse to make Oregon a regional jobs powerhouse.

The troubling facts: July 2014 Bureau of Labor Statistics information shows labor force participation in Oregon is nearly 2 points lower than the U.S. average. There would be as many as 61,000 more Oregonians in the labor force if we hit this mark. Moreover, recent Census Bureau data shows Oregonians’ personal income is now 10 percent lower than the U.S. average – amounting to more than $4,000 a year in lost wages for Oregonians. Economists are noting that income inequality increases most steeply in states with the weakest employment growth, so while Oregon may be adding jobs (although not fast enough), we continue to lag in labor participation and personal incomes, the hallmarks of a strong middle-class.
What can we do to add jobs and increase middle-class incomes?

 

First, invest in education and infrastructure as our top budgetary priorities. We can put teachers in classrooms and have construction workers building our highways immediately, while maintaining a balanced budget. For example, Oregon’s transportation department gets less than $20 million from our $16 billion general fund. We can tighten our belts in dozens of inefficient agencies and allocate existing resources to pave thousands of miles of Oregon highways and county roads, and put thousands of Oregonians to work.

 

Second, we can relieve the financial burden we place on Oregon workers, which takes money out of our pockets and the private-sector economy. Oregon’s income tax burden, capital gains tax rate and estate taxes rank among the top five states in each category. We also impose these high rates on some of the lowest levels of incomes in the U.S. The poor and middle-class get taxed early and often on their wages. Economists tell us we can create jobs immediately by doubling the lowest two income brackets and providing a per-child tax credit for working families.

 

Third, help Oregon small businesses hire the unemployed. By partnering with employers in targeted career transition initiatives, we can provide long-term unemployed Oregonians with a bridge to stable careers. At the same time, this creates a more talented and attractive workforce for our employers.

 

Finally, we can utilize Oregon’s natural assets (land, water and forests) in sustainable, responsible ways. Unfortunately, extreme environmental lawyers have helped create overgrown, burning forests on the one hand while limiting access to vital water and land on the other. We know that reasonable access to our resources can actually help stave off environmental disasters, while creating some of the best careers and long-term employment prospects for rural Oregonians.

 

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