Washington County Town Hall
It was a privilege to testify in front of the Oregon Legislative Assembly’s Joint Ways & Means Committee Budget Town Hall at Beaverton High School last night on behalf of A Better Oregon and Hifi Farms.
Very special thanks to Iris at the MSA Oregon Action Fund for helping set this up.
My prepared remarks:
“Good evening, and thank you. My name is Lee Henderson, and I am one of the founders of Hifi Farms, a cannabis cultivation company based here in Washington County, in District 29.
I am here tonight in support of A Better Oregon.
Hifi Farms was proud to endorse Measure 97. We believe deeply in corporate responsibility, and creating a more just economy here in Oregon. We are proud to be on the side not only of our employees, but of parents, teachers, healthcare workers, and other small business owners from all over our state when it comes to this issue
Accordingly, Oregon families are facing massive cuts to schools, health care, and the services they rely on daily.Our current $1.8 billion state budget deficit crisis has been caused by the choice Oregon has made to have the lowest corporate taxes in the country. Large corporations like Comcast, Monsanto, and Bank of America pay lower taxes here than anywhere else in the country.
Just last week, for instance, a member of our staff at Hifi Farms was diagnosed with an abnormality, possibly a tumor, on her heart. She is a hardworking mother of two who recently lost her ACA-backed private health insurance, and she is understandably very frightened about what to do next. We are doing all we can to ensure that she receives the treatment that she needs, of course, but, as a young startup, we are unable to offer her health insurance.
However, because we pay her a $15/hr living wage at Hifi Farms, she was judged ineligible for the Oregon Health Plan. Were the program not facing drastic cuts, I question whether this would still be the case.
And, of course, this story is unfortunately all too common.
Finally, a bit about my story. I am a married father of two young daughters. My wife and I moved here four years ago specifically to raise our children IN OREGON, because of its progressive culture, its open-minded sense of family values, and, also, its mild and
But seriously. We can and we must do better. For my children and yours.
In the wake of Measure 97’s defeat, we now have a new choice. I urge you, assembled representatives, to ask corporations to pay their fair share in taxes INSTEAD of cutting the programs that Oregonians rely on.
Thank you very much for this opportunity.”