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Bold Leadership Needed to Change Economic Course for Oregon and Lane County

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

By Christopher Gergen

Over the course of the last several weeks, we have discussed what economic factors will bring more business to Oregon and Lane County.  Additionally, we have pulled the curtain off the many half-truths found in the political talking points found on both sides of the aisle concerning what creates economic demand (often-called economic stimulus) for goods and services originating inside the State of Oregon.  Specifically, we have discussed:

  1. The Oregon Legislature has failed to create an environment to entice businesses to move to the state, let alone create sufficient jobs without such migration.
  2. The reason jobs are not currently being created is due to a lack of demand and a lack of demand doesn’t have anything to do with entrepreneurs, small business owners, and the wealthy creating jobs or taxation scaring investors away from starting businesses.
  3. Ultimately, it is you—the consumer—through the mechanism of demand that creates jobs and therefore it is you (with the aid of government and business) who possess the ultimate power to create the economic demand in Lane County and in Oregon at large.
  4. The Oregon Legislature should immediately move to repeal the economically damaging Measures 66 and 67, address the PERS crisis in a meaningful way that produces results, not rhetoric, and reduce government spending on wasteful or pet projects and redirect those funds to public safety and education.
  5. If businesses in Oregon would like to bend the cost of labor downward, they must make a serious push to enact Right to Work laws for Oregon workers.  Additionally, they should enact corporate policies that pay Oregon workers living wages as opposed to minimum wages because doing so increases productivity, lowers overall turnover, and puts more cash into the hands of the people who create demand and drive economic growth.

Oregon has so much going for it—natural resources, deep-water harbors, an educated work force, beautiful universities, and many natural wonders.  We have what it takes to move Oregon forward once again into prosperity and the success of Lane County is a major factor to making that happen.  We can—we should—lead the nation in economic growth or in the least find ourselves in the top 5 best places to live, to work, to raise a family and to retire.  The first step in making this goal a reality is repealing or reversing our slow growth and no growth policies that continually hold us back or worse—destroy the opportunity for new businesses to be planted and blossom in our great state. The time to acknowledge these needed changes has come to a head through the dire situations set before us.  In order to change our course the general citizenry of Oregon must put in Salem and Lane County governments leaders who not only understand this but who will boldly act on it.

We can do it—but will we?

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