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|Articles - March 2011|
|Wednesday, March 02, 2011|
Page 4 of 4
State legislators haven’t walked away from the ambitious project of establishing a state-run bank from scratch in Oregon. They’re running away from it. A bill introduced this session by Rep. Bob Jenson (R-Pendleton) calling for a North Dakota-style bank quickly morphed into a compromise proposal for an “Oregon Financing and Credit Authority” backed by Rep. Phil Barnhart (D-Eugene) with support from State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. Business groups such as the Oregon Business Association and Associated Oregon Industries have not yet taken a position on the issue.
The still-evolving compromise proposal calls for consolidating existing programs and funds rather than creating a new state bank. “We’ve spent a lot of time looking at how to use the assets we already have in a more productive way,” says Barnhart. “We could invest some of that money in lending to small businesses to build Oregon’s economy.”
Wheeler, whose role would change radically under a state bank system, says it makes sense to combine the state’s economic development offerings into one office that also participates in loans originated by local banks rather than competing with those banks. “We don’t need to replicate the North Dakota model,” Wheeler says. “I don’t think it would be a good use of public funds, and I don’t think it’s necessary. We can leverage off of the things already in place and achieve the same goals.”
For example, in late January Wheeler’s office reduced collateral requirements for banks that receive public fund deposits from 100% to 75% as a reflection of the improved economy. That freed up an estimated $600 million for local lending without costing taxpayers anything.
Wheeler says improving other existing programs and policies could bring similar results. He has shared his ideas with the bankers association and the Working Families Party, and the ironing out of details is under way.
The end product, should it become law, will probably share little in common with the much-idealized and feared Bank of North Dakota. It will not require the immediate hiring of bankers for state jobs. Nor will it endanger the liquidity of public funds or sap money from the general fund in times of intense cost-cutting. Wheeler, Barnhart and other supporters of the middle way are hoping it will help solve the credit problem without creating a fresh supply of new problems. Time will tell how deep their support reaches in a legislative session already packed with challenges.
Monday, November 10, 2014
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR
A market for low-carbon transportation fuels has a chance to flourish in Oregon if regulators adopt the second phase of the state’s Clean Fuels Program.
Saturday, December 13, 2014
Checking in with the managing director of Arnerich Massena.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
BY RYAN CARSON | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
How do we skill up our future technology workforce in a smart way to take advantage of these high-paying jobs? The answer shouldn’t focus only on helping people get a bachelor’s degree.
Sunday, December 07, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
On Friday, Uber switched on an app — and with one push of the button torpedoed Portland’s famed public process.
Thursday, November 20, 2014
BY OB STAFF
Farmers, grocery stores and food processors cash in on kale.
Tuesday, December 02, 2014
BY LINDA BAKER
A conversation with attorney Erich Merrill about the latest way to raise money from large groups of people.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
BY NISHANT BHAJARIA | OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR
By now, anyone who knows about it has a position on President Obama’s executive order on immigration. The executive order is the outcome of failed attempts at getting a bill through the normal legislative process. Both Obama and his predecessor came close, but not close enough since the process broke down multiple times.
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|Watchdog group takes issue with timber company's 'green' label|
|Labor dispute at the ports slowing Christmas deliveries|
|Fed stresses 'patience' regarding interest rate|
|Obama to announce end of Cuba isolation|
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