The recession hit Oregon hard. As thousands lost their jobs, tax revenues declined and the state had to make painful cuts to schools and critical services. Thousands of teachers were laid off and class sizes ballooned, and programs failed to keep up with the growing needs of seniors and the most vulnerable.
Years later, we’re still seeing the effects of those cuts all around us – Oregon has one of the nation’s shortest schools years, biggest class sizes, and lowest high school graduation rates. Thousands of families are eligible for assistance paying for childcare and other necessities, but insufficient resources means long waiting lists.
Economists say our economy is recovering – but for who?
Many parts of the state are seeing high unemployment rates, and in the areas where jobs are available, they don’t pay enough to support a family. Many Oregonians want to work, but their jobs aren’t working for them: Wages have been cut, hours and benefits have been slashed, and families are left on the brink of collapse, forced to rely on publicly funded programs to make ends meet. One in four workers in Oregon earns less than $12 an hour, and one in four Oregonians receives food stamps. On the other hand, large corporations are seeing higher profits than ever before. (more…)