SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Senate Republicans in Oregon have fled Salem to avoid a Tuesday vote on a $1 billion per-year funding package for schools.
Senate Minority Leader Herman Baertschiger told reporters Monday that Republicans have been left out of the school funding conversation and that they are opposed to the proposed half a percent tax on businesses with sales over $1 million. The proposed tax would fund school programs trying to boost student performance and decrease class sizes.
The Senate was set to consider the proposal Tuesday but if Republicans don't show there won't be enough legislators to go through with a vote.
Baertschiger, from Grants Pass, says it's one of the only tools in Republican toolbox to make conservative voices heard in a Democratic supermajority.
Only two Republicans appeared on the floor Monday, just barely giving the Senate a quorum.
“The reason Senator Knopp and I stayed behind to make quorum, without other members of the caucus, is to showcase our disgust in the refusal by the majority party to address the PERS debt in our state, which is the number one reason why schools cannot be funded adequately,” said Sen. Baertschiger. “Oregon can do better.”