Elected officials in Portland and Oregon have spent much of the week slamming the Republican tax plan passed by the U.S. Senate.
Portland business leaders have spent the same week complaining about the behavior of homeless people outside their downtown shops.
Multnomah County Chairwoman Deborah Kafoury tells WW that the two problems have the same solution: If Congress just redistributed the tax breaks it's handing out to the richest Oregonians, she says, this state could effectively end homelessness.
"Congress wants to cut a $375 million check to the top 1 percent in Oregon and add it to our national debt," Kafoury tells WW. "That kind of money could effectively end homelessness—statewide—by paying for 46,000 housing choice vouchers."
Housing choice vouchers—better known by their old name, Section 8 vouchers—provide some 35,000 low-income Oregon households a rent subsidy. Renters with the vouchers generally pay 30 percent of their income; the federal government, which sets a max rent they're willing to pay in an area, picks up the rest.
No word whether CEOs will start lining up with donations, but Kafoury says she doesn't really expect any leadership from Capitol Hill.
"It's more proof," she says, "that the federal government isn't serious about tackling the big challenges facing us as a nation."