On Tuesday, September 17, 2019, MAP’s State Caucus Network Director Cherisse Eatmon attended a bill signing in Salem, Oregon with Oregon’s State Treasurer Tobias Read and two Oregon Future Caucus members, Representative Julie Fahey and Representative Jack Zika. The Educational Savings Credit was signed into law by Governor Kate Brown and allows families to receive an income tax credit up to $300 for contributions to a college savings plan. Representative Fahey shared that “this package thoughtfully includes one more tool to help students avoid the crushing debt that is burdening families across the state and country.”
The Education Savings Credit changes the Oregon law from a tax deduction to a tax credit that encourages all families to invest in a college savings plan. Research has backed Treasurer Read’s savings agenda by showing that a child with an Oregon College Savings Plan is three times more likely to enroll in a job training or college program and four times more likely to complete it. Oregon is now the only state to enact a refundable tax credit for college savings.
Prior to the bill signing, Oregon Future Caucus Co-Chair Representative Fahey was instrumental in garnering enough support for the bill to pass. The Future Caucus issued a letter urging Chair of Finance and Revenue, Senator Mark Hass, and Chair of the Committee on Revenue, Representative Nancy Nathanson, to endorse the Education Savings Credit. The letter stated that only 12% of current college savings account owners are low or moderate income and are much more likely to be in urban communities. The Education Savings Credit seeks to improve that number. Oregon Future Caucus Co-Chairs Representative Julie Fahey and Senator Dallas Heard testified in support of the bill.
During the trip to Oregon, Eatmon discussed 2020 planning with the members of the Oregon Future Caucus and how they can continue to engage with younger generations across the state."Our whole economy can benefit when we increase access to higher education and training," Representative Zika said. "I'm proud to join my colleagues in supporting legislation that will benefit our younger generation and incentivize savings for higher education."