he first day of high school is a momentous occasion for a lot of students—but for students at Portland's Jefferson High
School, today's first day was even a little more exciting.
Gov. Kate Brown visited the school today, on the first day of the 2019-2020 school year for Portland Public Schools, to ceremonially sign HB 3427—known as the Student Success Act. The bill is projected to bring in about $1 billion a year for education through a new business tax.
Office of Gov. Kate Brown
Gov. Kate Brown officially signed the Student Success Act into law in May, but did a ceremonial signing on the first day of school for Portland Public Schools students.
“Many of us in Oregon have spent our entire adult lives waiting for the day we would fix our broken school funding model," Jim Green, the executive director of the Oregon School Boards
Association wrote on the group's website in May. "That day is now on the horizon.”
The bill passed along party lines in May, after educators demonstrated statewide in support of the bill. Central Oregon's all-Republican legislative delegation, including Sen. Tim Knopp (R-Bend), Rep. Cheri Helt (R-Bend) and Rep. Jack Zika (R-Redmond) voted no on the bill. Also opposed was the Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce
association, which expressed fear that the bill would hurt small businesses. Republicans in the legislature said they wanted to see true reform to the state's Public Employees
Retirement System first.
The OMC had aimed to put the issue to voters following its passage, the association stopped its attempt at a referendum in July.
In a statement issued July 16, the association wrote, "Though we will not be moving forward with the referral effort, we will continue to explore opportunities to minimize the negative impacts of this new tax on Oregonians by any means possible, including through legislative action or a potential initiative in a future election."
The bill—which goes into effect in January—will require businesses with at least $750,000 in sales to register with the state, and businesses with at least $1 million
in commercial activity to pay the tax, or a fee of at least $250.
Of the bill's signing, Brown said, "These investments will ensure that all our kids get the strongest start in life and can graduate high school with a plan for their future, and the tools to compete in a global economy."