Oregon can make choices that will help us thrive: Oregon Thrives General Meeting

Yesterday, Oregon Thrives held a General Meeting in Salem.  Oregon Thrives members and partners met to hear updates on the Oregon Thrives Legislative Agenda, get an inside line on happenings at the Legislative session, and learn from Patrick Bresette of Demos.

Patrick gave an overview of some of his latest research on how we can talk effectively about the vision we have for our state and our communities, and use language to help us move our states back into alignment with our hopes and visions for the kind of community we want to be.  He also talked about some of the work groups in other states are engaged in around their budgets and public structures.  You can download his presentation here.

We also presented advocates with language to use when talking about the budgets as well as a call to action!  Check it out below and use it today.

Oregon can make choices that will help us Thrive…

Oregon has a history of being a vibrant and prosperous state because of our solid and stable middle class.  We know this didn’t happen by accident.  Generations of public investments created a solid infrastructure for business to grow, an education system to offer opportunity, public systems that underpin community life and a set of public services available when people lose work, become disabled or need assistance to get back on their feet.  We know that these foundations of our middle class have been shaken by the recent recession and the resulting state budget cuts, but we know this is a problem we have the tools to solve.

The recent state revenue report, by projecting additional revenue, casts a few rays of light on an otherwise dark outlook for that foundation.  We applaud the Governor and Legislature for their plan to commit those new dollars to fill the holes in the DHS and Public Safety budgets.  At the same time, we see that current plans would still leave our public systems in shambles and put tremendous strain on the very families who are already most affected by the on-going economic recession.

We have better options. We can continue to find efficiencies in how our state does business.  We can use our reserves to prevent our state from falling further behind.  We can find new ways to pay for maintaining and rebuilding our communities.  We can create communities of opportunity so that no one is left behind.

Oregon has tremendous resources at its disposal – hard working people, ingenuity and financial tools that can all be brought to bear to build a more prosperous future for Oregon.  The decisions we will make in the next few weeks reflect our commitment to making that future a reality.

TAKE ACTION for a thriving Oregon!

As we near the end of the Legislative Session, we need to raise our voices and take a stand for the state we want Oregon to be.  The deepest recession in decades is still hurting our communities.  We can act now to make life better for those who have borne the brunt of the economic recession.

We must make it our priority to re-build a strong middle class in Oregon.  At pivotal moments in our state’s history we have chosen to build a brighter future for ourselves and our children.  The May 12th Revenue Forecast gives us that opportunity, and presents us with the information we need to make wise decisions.  Let’s be sure that we make decisions and choices that will move us forward together as a state, reflect the priorities of Oregonians, and position us for a future that offers opportunity for all Oregonians.

Invest General Fund and Reserves to Meet Immediate Needs:

We can keep the foundations of our economy sound and pave the way to future prosperity.  The job growth that is pulling us out of the recession won’t continue if we don’t maintain the health and stability of our public systems.  Whether it is education, infrastructure, or the many services that keep our communities strong, it’s these investments in ourselves that fuel a good business climate and sustain a strong middle class.

Invest in Department of Human Services Core Programs including TANF

Maintain Oregon Youth Authority Beds

Preserve Key Services for Seniors and Disabled

Increase the Emergency Housing Account to prevent homelessness

Increase  the General Fund Food Program

Allocate Rainy Day and newly projected funds to meet additional Human Services needs – HB 3642

Allocate Education Stability Funds to keep schools open – HB 3641

Use public resources in the most efficient ways possible:

Support Access to education for Oregon Students – SB 742 would make sure Oregon High School graduates pay in-state tuition whether or not they are documented residents.  Call your Representative today to urge action on SB 742!  Let’s help hardworking Oregon students get access to a college education and a brighter future.

Increase Resources Available for Priorities:

Impose a higher tax on Tobacco products

What you can do:

What you can do:

  1. Call your Legislator Today:

    To find your legislator’s contact information, look here:
    http://www.leg.state.or.us/index.html

    Not sure who your legislator is? Look it up here:
    http://www.leg.state.or.us/findlegsltr/

  2. Write a Letter to the Editor:

    A few hints:

    Keep it short: 3 to 4 paragraphs (150-250 words; check requirements)

    Respond quickly

    Mention the reason for the letter in the first sentence

    Limit the contents to 1 or 2 key points

    Say why it matters (Values), specify what needs to be done (Policy), and ask those with the power to make it happen to act (Responsibility)

    Use framed messages, social math, and simplifying models

    Include your name, address, & phone number

TALKING POINTS: Use one of these to help you get started when you phone or write.  Don’t forget to ask for a specific policy solution or step to be taken.

We can keep the foundations of our economy sound and pave the way to future prosperity.  The job growth that is pulling us out of the recession won’t continue if we don’t maintain the health and stability of our public systems.

We can act now to make life better for those who have borne the brunt of the economic recession.

Our state has tremendous resources at its disposal – hard working people, ingenuity and financial tools that can all be brought to bear to build a more prosperous future for Oregon.  The decisions we will make in the next few weeks reflect our commitment to making that future a reality.

We must make it our priority to re-build a strong middle class in Oregon.  At pivotal moments in our state’s history we have chosen to build a brighter future for ourselves and our children.  The May 12th Revenue Forecast gives us that opportunity, and presents us with the information we need to make wise decisions.  Let’s be sure that we make decisions and choices that will move us forward as a state, reflect the priorities of Oregonians, and position us for a future that offers opportunity for all Oregonians.