Sent to: Senate nays, 5–Bonamici, Dingfelder, Olsen, Rosenbaum, Shields; House nays, 18–Barnhart, Buckley, Cannon, Dembrow, Doherty, Frederick, Garrett, Gelser, Greenlick, Harker, Holvey, Kotek, Nathanson, Nolan, Smith J., Thatcher, Tomei, Witt

A HUGE THANK YOU to each of you for your service to the citizens of Oregon this session.  It felt like a horse race all the way through, and the compromises had to hurt.  You did a lot, thanks.

I want especially to thank you for your “Nay” on SB 817, the cleverly titled “Low income community jobs initiative.”   As you know, under New Market Tax Credits, most of the funds end up in the pockets of the financial community, not the pockets of either job holders or business owners, unlike our other loan programs.

I hear some of you are getting some push back for your vote.  Your response might include:  As a state we know how to loan money to businesses, and already do so regularly, and far more efficiently than   SB 817.  In fact, this session we added an additional $16 million to the state’s loan program operated through OBDD. The Department of Energy operates a loan fund as well.  They’ve made loans of over $270 million since 2001. And for those of you in Portland, you could mention that the PDC has a loan portfolio of $104 million.  The state knows how to loan money.  And we do it in ways that are far cheaper for the tax system and far easier for the business owner than SB 817.

In each of our programs, the state can get its interest and principal back and can re-loaning it to another business.  With SB 817, the money goes to the financial community in the form of tax credits, and then it’s gone, they only need to loan it to an Oregon business for seven years, and then it is theirs.  It doesn’t come back to be re-loaned by the state to another business.

Also this session, you added $8 million to the Governor’s Strategic Investment Fund, some of which will likely be loaned.  All of it will go to business development, and not on a first come first serve basis.

It’s isn’t that you did nothing.  It’s that you voted wisely.  And we thank you.  We hope you “nay” sayers are picking up the phone or sending an email asking the Governor to veto SB 817.