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Oregon Policy Group: Income Gap At Highest Level Yet Between Most Affluent And Middle-Class

Erik Drost

Oregon’s income inequality gap has never been wider, says a group that analyzes tax and budget issues. KLCC’s Brian Bull reports.  

The Oregon Center for Public Policy calls it one of the greatest challenges for the state.  Center spokesman Juan Carlos Ordonez illustrates how much the income gap has grown, using data gleaned from the state department of revenue.


“Back in 1980, it took the income of 26 middle-income Oregonians, to equal the amount of the richest top one-tenth of one percent," says Ordonez.  "In 2015, the most recently available data, it now takes 126 middle-income Oregonians to equal the income of those very rich Oregonians.  So never has the gap been wider.” 

Ordonez says between 2009 and 2015, the top 1 percent of Oregonians saw their income increase by $160,000.  The average Oregonian saw their income grow by $900 for the same period.

The Oregon Center for Public Policy wants lawmakers to invest more in education, health, transportation, and affordable housing to offset the trend…which would involve the wealthiest individuals and corporations paying more in taxes.   

Copyright 2017, KLCC.

Brian Bull joined the KLCC News Team in June 2016. In his 25+ years as a public media journalist, he's worked at NPR, Twin Cities Public Television, South Dakota Public Broadcasting, Wisconsin Public Radio, and ideastream in Cleveland. His reporting has netted dozens of accolades, including four national Edward R. Murrow Awards (19 regional), the Ohio Associated Press' Best Reporter Award, Best Radio Reporter from the Native American Journalists Association, and the PRNDI/NEFE Award for Excellence in Consumer Finance Reporting.
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