Our 2023 legislative priorities for economic and racial justice

This year, the Oregon Legislature has a chance to make crucial investments to make Oregon a better state for everyone. At the Oregon Economic Justice Roundtable, we are committed to supporting organizing and advocacy work to ensure we take the steps necessary to achieve Economic and Racial Justice in Oregon.

Here are our 2023 Legislative Priorities for Economic and Racial Justice:

  • Invest in Individual Development Accounts (IDAs). IDAs are matched savings accounts that improve the financial future of Oregonians with lower incomes. The program has proven to be a life-changing experience for savers to expand their economic outlook, secure their financial stability, and open doors to homeownership, higher education, enterprise, and other opportunities. The Legislature should support a $35 million investment for IDAs in Oregon.
  • Opportunity to Serve Act. Oregon legislators work more session days and serve in a smaller body with fewer lawmakers than their counterparts in other state legislatures yet, they are paid less —legislators in Oregon currently earn a meager $32,839 each year. This makes the opportunity to serve in the Oregon legislature inaccessible to many people, including future lawmakers of color. The Legislature should pass the Opportunity to Serve Act to increase legislator pay to match Oregon’s annual mean occupational employment wage estimate. 
  • Oregon Kids’ Credit. Families across our state continue to struggle to make ends meet, and are forced to choose between a roof over their heads or food for their children. At the end of 2022, Congress failed to pass a permanent expansion of the Child Tax Credit. The Legislature should create its own version of an Oregon Kids Credit, creating a $1,200 refundable tax credit available to every Oregon family that meets specific income requirements. 
  • People’s Housing Assistance Fund. Rents across Oregon are rising faster than wages, and rental assistance is not widely available for all who need it. Today, only one out of every four Oregonians receives help to pay rent from programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher Program. The Legislature should create a People’s Housing Assistance Fund to allocate $500 million to provide meaningful financial support to rent-burdened Oregonians with incomes at or below 30% AMI to boost their discretionary incomes to meet their needs.

The OEJR has also voted to endorse two additional proposals:

  • Tax preparation assistance. The Legislature should invest additional funding to help Oregonians to access valuable refundable state and local tax credits to boost their incomes.
  • Mortgage interest deduction. The Legislature should reform the mortgage interest deduction to disallow a deduction on interest paid towards a mortgage securing a non-primary residence. Savings recaptured by disallowing this deduction should go towards homelessness services, asset-building programs, and first-time homebuyer programs.

For more information on our priorities for this session, please contact Ethan Livermore at 503-841- 7555, elivermore@neighborhoodpartnerships.org