Capitol & District Phone: 503-986-1714Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, S-207, Salem, Oregon 97301Email: Sen.MarkHass@state.or.usWebsite: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/hass
It's a New Year and time for new opportunities. The Senate President has appointed me Chair of the Finance revenue Committee based on my longtime advocacy for a more stable tax code. I'm looking forward to this opportunity to continue to serve you and to reform Oregon's volatile tax system. I believe it's past time to end Oregon's boom and bust cycle of tax policy. Because we are so dependent on the personal income tax, Oregon has the dubious title of having the most volatile tax code in the country.As I often ask my colleagues, if Oregon was just admitted as a new state – and now we have to write a tax code – would we create the system we have today? Most of us would agree we would not. I have no preconceived plans of what we will come up with, other than I want it to be revenue neutral for Oregonians and that it should reduce volatility.Others have failed to make headway on this quest and because of that I've been warned to steer clear. But I'm not willing to let another session go by without at least trying to address one of the most serious problems facing Oregon.I will also continue to serve on the Education Committee where we are posed to approve legislation to allow Oregon high school graduates the
opportunity to attend community college at no charge for two years. This idea has the strong endorsement of business interests, students, parents and our colleges. It acknowledges the realities of trying to make it to the middle class without at least some kind of training or technical education. Under our plan, the federal government would pay most of the costs with the state paying the "last dollar in" for students who qualify. In the long run, research suggests this will actually save money when fewer people seek social benefits. It addition, I am sponsoring legislation that will help more Oregon high school students gain more college credits. This legislation is designed to help all students – not just those in the top tiers. With college credits "in the bank" these students are more likely to seek post-secondary education and succeed in life. It's also a great way to reduce the growing burden of student debt.
As always, I'm happy to hear your feedback and to answer any questions or concerns you might have. Just send me an email or give me a call.Thanks for the continued honor of representing you in the Oregon State Senate.Best,