The Past Few Weeks

Sheri Malstrom

Hello Friends,

In this newsletter, we will update you on a few of the big-ticket items that have been the center of conversations around the capitol the last few weeks.

From the start of the 2017 legislative session we knew that one of the single greatest challenges we faced was closing the then $1.8 billion budgetary shortfall to protect investments in vital human services and education. That said, this challenge is not new. For years Oregon, has relied heavily on personal income taxes, while Measures 5, 47, and 50 have shifted the responsibility for education funding from property taxes to the state’s general fund. These factors, along with low corporate taxes and the absence of a sales tax have resulted in a volatile revenue system with consistent peaks and valleys in general funds. This last month, the revenue forecast was released and was a big reminder that our revenue system is not adequately allowing us to fund the services Oregonians are expecting from our government. 


May Revenue Forecast

This forecast shows how much revenue will be available for our schools and critical services. The news is mixed: Our economy continues to do better than the national average, although there are signs that the growth is beginning to slow down as we reach full employment.

But even with a booming economy, we’re facing a $1.4 billion shortfall in funding for our schools, health care, senior services, and public safety at just the current levels. The forecast shows that our revenue system is broken and outdated. Because we depend so heavily on personal income taxes and have among the lowest corporate taxes in the nation, we’ve faced year after year of budget uncertainty and cuts to schools, and vital services.  

Without bold action, we’ll face many more years of cuts that will lead to more overcrowded classrooms, shorter school years, and cuts to health care and senior services. We must re-think how we fund these services.

As a new member of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Human Services, I have spent the last several months hearing testimony from programs that serve Oregon’s most vulnerable populations. The greatest challenge of serving on this committee has been viewing these programs from the lens of our current deficit, knowing that without additional resources, many, if not these programs would experience cuts in their budgets that would lead to fewer services, and higher costs down the road. Without new revenue, we are pitting the developmentally disabled against vulnerable women and children against the elderly. To keep investing in education and critical services, I am supporting the Revenue Reform and Stability Act.

Revenue Reform and Stability Act

The initiative would raise more than $890 million in the next budget cycle, with a minimum of 75% of those funds dedicated to education, and is the result of months of discussion between leaders in the House, the Senate, the business community and labor organizations. It creates a Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) of less than 1%, which varies based on industry, which will replace Oregon’s existing corporate income tax in 2019. While this legislation has been well vetted and is the result of bipartisan collaboration and compromise we need your help to encourage key legislators that there is public support for raising more revenue.

Please reach out to these leaders and let them know you support raising revenue.

Senator Mark Hass

Senate President Peter Courtney

House Speaker Tina Kotek

Town Hall


Better Know the District

This month we are highlighting the West Slope Community Library in the West Slope community in Washington County. A portion of this community, including the library falls within House District 27!



West Slope is mostly unincorporated, but parts of the area are within the city of Beaverton. The West Slope Community Library is within the unincorporated portion. It was founded in 1950 by the Century Club of Women. First located in an old bank, it moved to the current location at 3678 SW 78th Ave., in 1974 (just south of the Raleigh Park & Swim Center). Since then, voters have passed a local levy to fund the library and Washington County funds the library through property tax revenue from the general funds budget.

The Friends of the West Slope Library are a non-profit that support the mission of the library and help fund it through donations. If you have a chance, please go visit the library!

Hope to see you around the district soon.


Capitol Phone: 503-986-1427
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-280, Salem, Oregon 97301