News   |   Sign Up   |   A LEVER FOR SCALE

Oregon

The Alliance’s lead ally in Oregon, the Children’s Institute, leverages research, practice, policy, and advocacy to shift systems toward justice for families so that all of Oregon’s children, prenatal to grade 5, have access to opportunity. CI focuses on early learning and healthy development, success in the early grades, and aligned early learning and elementary experiences. CI convenes the Early Childhood Coalition to strengthen advocacy efforts and early childhood policy.

statekids002005
2023 State Early Childhood Policy Environment and Progress

State early childhood policy progress is dependent both on the state’s policy environment and the numerous efforts — by those listed on this page and many others — who worked both independently and collaboratively to achieve wins for young children.

Early Childhood Landscape:

Research shows that family economic security is foundational to children’s overall wellbeing. Research also shows that widespread disparities in opportunity (especially by race) drive wide disparities in outcomes. States with policies that offer strong support to young children and their families are more likely to see 1) declining numbers of children in low-income households and 2) low racial disparity among those children. 

Young Children in Low-Income Households: Declining

Approximately 36% (138,000) of the state’s children 0-8 live in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level (2021). This number represents a decrease from 41% (174,000) in 2016.1

Racial Disparity Among Young Children Living in Low-Income Households: High

Black, Hispanic/Latino, and/or Native children aged 0-8 are significantly more likely to be living in households below 200% of the Federal Poverty Level than are Asian and non-Hispanic White children.2

Advocacy Landscape:

State General Fund Appropriations: Growing

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek signed into law a series of bills this summer comprising the state’s biennial budget for fiscal 2024- 2025, while government agencies operated under a continuing resolution for a period to allow time to finalize the budget. The biennial budget, as finalized by the legislature on June 25, plans for total fund spending over two years of $121.3 billion, a 3.6 percent decrease from the enacted budget for the prior biennium, with the decline primarily attributable to less spending from federal funds. The total budget includes $31.9 billion in general fund spending and $1.6 billion in lottery fund spending, with the combined general and lottery funds enacted budget up 17.2 percent compared to the previous biennial budget. The budget is based on combined general and lottery fund resources of $34.0 billion, including a $7.2 billion beginning balance and $27.0 billion in projected revenues (net of personal income tax kicker), and after accounting for various transfers, reversions, dedications, revenue enhancements and reductions. The state is forecasting combined balances in the general fund and lottery fund of $548 million at the end of the biennium. Combined reserves in the Rainy Day Fund and Education Stability Fund are projected at $2.9 billion at the end of the biennium.3

Largest Per Capita Revenue Sources (after federal transfers) (FY 2021):4

    • Individual Income Taxes: $2,652 per capita
    • Charges: $2,437 per capita

Oregon does not levy a general sales tax. Charges are public payments connected with a specific government service, such as tuition paid to a state university, payments to a public hospital, or highway tolls. 

Permanent State Funding Stream Dedicated to Early Childhood: Yes

Oregon invested $50 million in lottery bonds to create the Child Care Infrastructure Fund. Distributions fund investments designed to expand child care and preschool facilities.

Also, nicotine taxes fund a health care package that includes Medicaid eligibility up to 133 percent of the Federal Poverty Level. The revenue is roughly $160 million per year and ensures health care for the 135,000 children between the ages of 0-5 on Medicaid in Oregon (about 40% of Oregon’s children).

Further, since 2019, Oregon has had a corporate activity tax dedicated to education – 20 percent of which is allocated to programs serving infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. The tax is a form of a gross receipts tax that applies to a variety of corporations, partnerships, and other entities consisting of $250 plus 0.57 percent of the taxable commercial activity that exceeds $1 million in the calendar year.

Political Alignment: Aligned Democrat

During the 2023 session, the state’s Senate and House were both Democrat controlled. The state’s Governor was also a Democrat.5

Types of Common Ballot Measures Available:6  Five

    • Legislature Initiated State Statute—Appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated State Statute—Earns a spot on the ballot when sponsors collect signatures according to the laws governing the initiative process in Oregon.
    • Legislature-Initiated Constitutional Amendment—A constitutional amendment that appears on a state’s ballot as a ballot measure because the state legislature in that state voted to put it before the voters.
    • Voter-Initiated Constitutional Amendment—An amendment to a state’s constitution that comes about through the initiative process.
    • Veto Referendum—When citizens of Oregon disagree with a statute or legislative bill enacted by the state legislature, they can collect signatures to force the issue to a vote. If enough signatures are collected, the bill is placed on the statewide ballot.

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Organizations Include:

Early Childhood Policy Advocacy Multi-State Initiatives Include:7

An Oregon coalition of advocates is working with Child Care NEXT funding on a sustained effort to pursue bold transformation for the state’s child-care ecosystem.  

2023 Policy Progress:

During the 2023 Legislative Session, Oregon made progress by investing in early childhood facilities infrastructure, and advancing children’s health. Advocates continue to work to advance meaningful levels of investments in early childhood programs.

Highlights from the state’s early childhood policy advocacy community include5:

Creation of a Child Care Infrastructure Fund (HB 3005, $55 million)

Protected child care providers in rental homes from unfair treatment (SB 599)

Advanced Early Childhood Literacy Initiative (HB 3198), including birth to 5, preschool through 3rd grade, and community wrap-around strategies.

Initiated a community-driven review of early childhood workforce pathways for equity and accessibility (HB 2991)

Scaled Universally Offered Home Visits (Family Connects model) to the entire state (SB 5525)

Advocates also secured $22 million total investments in early learning programs about current service levels (HB 5013). While this will not expand programs, it will provide needed investments to address compensation and meet inflationary costs increases.

Ongoing Grantee Areas of Advocacy:

The Alliance’s lead grantee in Oregon, Childrens Institute, is working to advance early childhood policies in several areas that align with the Alliance’s birth-through-eight policy framework

Early Care and Education

Child Care

Child Care Workforce

K-3 Education

Pre-School and Pre-K

Child and
Maternal Health

Early Intervention (0-3)

Family
Supports

Home Visiting

Early Childhood Infrastructure

Early Childhood Finance and Cost Modeling

Early Childhood Governance

Click here for more information on advocates’ policy agenda.

RECENT ADVOCACY SNAPSHOT:

NOTES:

1 Kids Count Data Center, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, November, 2022 

2 National Center for Children in Poverty, Children Ages 0 to 8 Below 200 Percent Poverty, March 2023, NCCP analysis of ACS 1-Year Estimates – Public Use Microdata Sample 2021

3 National Association of State Budget Officers, Summaries of Fiscal Year 2024 Enacted Budgets, October 11, 2023.

4 Urban Institute, State Fiscal Briefs, July 2023

5 National Conference of State Legislatures, 2023 State & Legislative Partisan Composition, February 28, 2023.

6 Ballotpedia, Ballot Measures by State, Kids Count Data Center, retrieved May, 2023.

7 Alliance for Early Success, Multi-State Initiatives for Early Childhood Policy Advocacy, April, 2022.

8 Alliance for Early Success, State-Wide Advocacy Highlights Survey, April-August, 2023.  

More State Policy Data:

Oregon
Oregon
Oregon

More State Demographic Data:

Oregon
Oregon