What Has Salem Done for Us Now?

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med_Pamelas_Mug_copy55Our legislators have gone home and we’re still trying to get a grasp of what exactly was done to help Oregon’s struggling businesses.

The mission should have been clear: control spending, attract capital investment to Oregon and create a rainy day fund.

Our state legislators should have focused on improving Oregon’s business climate, creating new jobs and attracting companies to our state while developing a bipartisan strategy for creating a job-friendly environment for Oregon workers.

Amidst this confusing session, several elected officials chose to spend too much of their time promoting partisan retribution against political enemies including Head Start, the Oregon Bankers Association and specific lobbyists who did not support the recently approved tax measures. Evidently they forgot that we still have a economic crisis on our hands.

Some of the bills that did pass have the potential to make a difference including a new fund that gives loans and grants to help small businesses that create new jobs and hire Oregonians and another bill that is supposed to promote access to business capital by making it easier for businesses to access funds from the Oregon Business Development Fund. The Energy from Forests act supports biomass as an alternative energy technology, with the goal of helping to create new jobs for Oregonians while obtaining energy from our forests.  The Economic Gardening proposal lays the groundwork for giving small businesses the tools they need to succeed.

We like the sound of these initiatives; the question is if bureaucratic red tape and too many restrictions will keep them from having an impact on businesses?

A February 2010 Construction Industry Survey unveiled several things that Oregon contractors and construction workers believe could help their industry. Topping the list is making Oregon more business friendly and prioritizing jobs that are -more “sustainable” and less “experimental” and temporary.  Legislators should pay attention to their ideas that include stopping the bureaucracy from creating barriers that hold up jobs. Specifically they want to remove bureaucratic red tape and open up opportunities for Oregon public projects to Oregon companies.  The survey also suggested that most construction industry workers want to put more money in Oregon’s economy by reducing taxes and cutting government spending—it is taking too much money out of the private economy.

These are the kinds of issues that our elected officials should be talking about. As they begin to campaign for re-election we should all take note as to who is innovative and forceful enough to help Central Oregon’s struggling economy.  PHA

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