Let me be the first to congratulate former Interim UO President Bob Berdahl (left) on his courageous support for Better Oregon’s Measure 28 ballot initiative, which is the only proposal on the table that would increase tax revenues by enough to allow the sorts of increases in higher education funding that he calls for in his Oregonian Op-Ed here.
Although, on a closer read, Berdahl doesn’t actually come out in support of Measure 28, which does have some issues. So his op-ed has a better substantive proposal for raising the money, and a plan to put it on the November ballot? Nope. Instead he starts with a bit of self-congratulation:
As one of the advocates for creating separate governing boards for Oregon’s universities, I was pleased to note the apparent success The Oregonian/OregonLive reported about the initial operation of these boards.
He then cites some well known numbers on how little support Oregon provides higher education, and makes this radical proposal:
Perhaps it is time we started asking candidates for the Legislature about their priorities.
Yes, perhaps it is. What a powerful idea. Perhaps. I do like Berdahl’s conclusion though:
Why do we cheer when one of our university athletic teams is ranked in the top 10 or contending for a national championship, but seem satisfied that “record” funding for higher education leaves us in 41st place?
Won’t this just end up being a sales tax? The firms aren’t going to pass along the cost to the consumer?
Pass along to consumers? Depends on the relative elasticities of supply and demand.
It has some other peculiarities that make it worse than a sales tax in terms of progressivity, neutrality and DWL. The Tax Foundation has a sound economic analysis here: http://taxfoundation.org/article/oregon-initiative-petition-28-threat-oregon-s-tax-climate
Bottom line, they hate it. But it’s the only option on the table.
It’s basically a disguised sales tax, with some other unpleasant features, to pay for vastly increased PERS and Medicaid costs.
If it passes, I wouldn’t bet on higher ed getting much of it.
But I wouldn’t bet on it passing. Once people realize that it is a big tax increase on them.