Oregon Senate Republicans: 2015 Legislative Priorities


Oregon Senate Republicans

Salem, OR – Today, Oregon Senate Republicans released an ambitious agenda for the 2015 Legislative Session focused on creating family-wage jobs for all Oregonians. The agenda highlights three key priorities: creating jobs in struggling communities, increasing economic security for working families, and expanding educational opportunity.

Senate Republicans pledged to stop job-killing tax increases while providing incentives for economic growth across the state.

“The American Dream is not to make minimum wage,” said Deputy Republican Leader Tim Knopp (R-Bend). “Our first priority has to be creating living-wage jobs that will support Oregon families. Only then will we have a stable tax base that adequately funds education and an economic environment where Oregon families and small businesses can thrive.”

Recognizing that Oregon families still feel the pressure of the recent economic downturn, Senate Republicans promised to aggressively advocate for women and working families still struggling to make ends meet by creating an Oregon Child Tax Credit, helping small businesses afford paid sick leave for their employees, and establishing tax-free savings accounts.

Senate Republicans also presented a plan for expanding educational opportunities by dedicating additional tax revenue from recent economic growth to the education budget. Senate Republicans would allocate over $1 billion more to K-12 education than Democrat leaders. Funding will be directed toward locally targeted strategic investment for innovative programs that reduce absenteeism, expand career planning and education intervention, and increase funding for career, technical, and STEM programs.

“It’s time we equipped our hard working teachers with the tools they need to ensure success for every child,” said Senator Bill Hansell (R-Athena). “Creating a Teacher Classroom Supplies Tax Credit to support teachers who sacrifice part of their own paychecks to buy supplies for their students would put our tax dollars directly back into the classroom.”

In a legislative preview with the Associated Press last week, Senate Democrats promised not to “play fast and loose with (Oregon’s) pocketbook” while simultaneously proposing a slew of new tax increases that disproportionately harm working Oregon families and small businesses. Senate Republicans cautioned against runaway “tax-and-spend” policies that abuse the recent revenue gains from continued economic recovery.

“We hope the tsunami of Democrat-proposed tax increases are not an indication of a runaway tax-and-spend approach for Democrats this session,” explained Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “If they are serious about creating family wage jobs, we are eager to work with them to protect and grow small businesses and provide Oregon students with educational opportunities that will help them find living-wage jobs.”