Kitzhaber breaks ranks with many Oregon Democrats with anti-97 stance

Ex-Gov. John Kitzhaber (KPTV file image)

One of the biggest decisions Oregonians face this election is Measure 97, a bill proposing higher tax rates for corporations to fund schools, health care and senior services.

Many Democrats support the measure, but former Democratic governor John Kitzhaber has a different take.

Kitzhaber, who resigned from office in February of 2015, has released an argument against Measure 97, adding his voice to a hotly debated issue.

Kitzhaber posted a message on his website and Facebook Sunday night, saying the money generated by the proposal wouldn't necessarily fix any problems.

While he admits the state needs more money in the general fund, he questions how the money would be spent."The problem is that BM 97 proposes to spend an additional $6 billion a biennium on current programs; regardless of whether those programs are actually producing the outcomes we want."Kitzhaber pointed to the health care system and public education system as examples where more funding doesn't necessarily lead to better outcomes.

He also argues that legislation should accompany new revenue to reduce cost and improve results.

Many other former Democratic governors of the state, as well as current governor Kate Brown, have supported the measure.

Brown gave her endorsement back in August, saying the plan would ease the tax burden on families in the state.

"I have spent my career fighting to make Oregon a place where everyone can thrive,” she wrote in the statement. “I support Measure 97 because there is a basic unfairness in our tax system that makes working families pay an increasing share for state and local services."

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