Coalition proposes 'People's Budget' for OR's short session
Monday, February 12, 2024
A coalition of groups has laid out its budget priorities for the Oregon legislative session in an effort to advance racial, gender and economic justice.
The Fair Shot for All coalition includes unions, racial equity and education groups and more. They have proposed the 2024 People's Budget for this year's short session.
Heather Stuart, coalition director of Fair Shot for All, said one of their priorities is the state's housing crisis. She pointed out more than 80% of evictions happen because someone is behind on rent.
"Rent assistance is the single most effective tool at preventing evictions, making sure that landlords get paid and tenants stay housed," Stuart explained. "Our ask for this session is $45 million to make sure that program keeps up with demand."
The coalition is proposing the state invest $63 million in housing and rental assistance.
The groups behind Fair Shot for All also want the state to make big investments in child care. Stuart noted the subsidy program known as Employment Related Day Care has been beneficial for families but has room to grow, with more than 1,300 families on a waitlist.
"The ERDC program is a lifeline for families," Stuart contended. "It keeps parents working and ensures kids get the care and early education they deserve. And it impacts all of us, but they will disproportionately be felt by BIPOC communities and other folks who are not able to pay for those child care pieces."
Stuart argued Oregon should also invest more in school-based health centers, which serve a critical need across the state.
"Particularly for things like mental health for students, which we know Oregon has significant issues with," Stuart outlined. "And for health care in a lot of communities where it's hard to find those health care providers that are easily accessible."
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