Taking a stand on comprehensive tax reform

It’s pretty simple, really. Without an educated workforce our economy and our businesses will falter. That fundamental truth was the driving force this spring when BBPDX members mobilized on many fronts to urge officials in Salem to get serious about revenue reform to support education.

In March, Jenn Lynch, BBPDX board member and managing director at the Portland Seed Fund, took to the editorial page the Portland Tribune’s business section to urge businesses to take advantage of a once-in-a-lifetime investment opportunity: corporate tax reform to fund a transformation of public education in Oregon.

In April, Kali Thorne Ladd, cofounder and director of Kairos PDX teamed with Bryan Steelman, BBPDX member and owner of Por Que No Taqueria, followed up to urge business leaders to think about their longterm talent needs when considering proposals for funding K-12 and community college education.

These voices were joined by a chorus from BBPDX membership who signed on to support Oregon’s Student Success Act, which will raise $1 billion per year for education funding through a 0.57% tax on businesses that have more than a million dollars in Oregon sales.

A letter signed by 40 BBPDX members articulated, “what Oregonians clearly cannot take any longer is a perpetuation of a tax system that limits economic growth, weakens our workforce, and fails to prepare our youth for economic success.”

In addition, BBPDX members including Mat Ellis, who was then the CEO of Cloudability, Holly Levow of Foundation and Noah Oken-Berg of Above the Fray Design testified in Salem along with BBPDX Executive Director Ashley Henry in support of the Student Success Act, revenue reform, and the business case for education funding.

The Student Success Act passed in May but not without drama in Salem. BBPDX recognizes the need for pension reform in Oregon, but we’re gratified to be a part of a new chorus of business voices calling for change that includes smart investments that benefit our whole communities.