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I work for a local community college, and as a result of the economic meltdown and the subsequent budget shortfall, we are starting the 2009/2010 school year this Fall after having been forced to lay off large numbers of staff and faculty, cut operating budgets, impose a hiring freeze throughout the institution, increase class sizes, and otherwise attempt to do much more with far fewer resources. This problem is exacerbated by the fact that due to the economy and the job market, enrollment is at or near an all-time high. Everyone is thrilled that enrollment is up, but resources in every department are stretched to the breaking point. If indeed there are enough signatures gathered to bring this referendum to a vote and it passes, further cuts in personnel and services will undoubtedly have to be made.
I appreciate that nobody likes the thought of paying higher taxes, whether they are imposed on those with high incomes, corporations, or everybody across the board, but without this $733 million tax package many of the educational opportunities and retraining programs that can help us work our way out of this recession simply won't be available. Without these dollars, there won't be anybody to teach the classes, or adequate support staff to keep the schools operating at a level that can accommodate all of those students who are trying to prepare for a degree, or to enter the workforce, or are seeking retraining in a new and difficult economy.
It is easy to make a superficial argument that increasing taxes will hurt the economy. But in this case, at least when it comes to the operation of schools, the opposite is true. Without these tax dollars many fewer Oregonians will have the opportunity to achieve their goals and dreams, because the resources will not be available to support those goals and dreams. Our future economy depends on our ability to adapt to a changing social and economic landscape, and that ability to adapt requires the avilability of educational resources.
Without this tax package, it will be our future that suffers, both economically, and socially.
Thank you for the opportunity to voice my concerns.
K.D. Cline - Milwaukie, Oregon
posted 3 years, 8 months ago
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