Alliance for Democracy

Oregon State Bank Update

Posted in Oregon State Bank, Oregon Working Families Party by Alliance for Democracy Portland OR on February 22, 2011

I am passing on the lastest news about the Oregon State Bank efforts.  The efforts are moving forward with three bills introduced into the Oregon legislature but your help is needed.  Details below from the Oregon Working Families Party/Oregon State Bank campaign.

David Delk | 503.232.5495 |


Send a personal thank you note to the bi-partisan group of decisionmakers in Salem who are spearheading the effort to create the Oregon State Bank.

Dear David Delk,

Forgive the length of this message, but you are receiving this special update because you signed the petition in support of the the Oregon State Bank.

As of this weekend, we have some very concrete information from the state capitol to report to you, as well as some specific action items we need you to do ASAP in order to ensure that this important legislation continues to move forward.

Please see below for a report direct from the capitol.

Steve Hughes
Oregon Working Families Party

P.S.  Please feel free to share this report as you see fit.


Report from the Capitol

February 19, 2011

From:  Barbara Dudley, Oregon Working Families Party co-chair and sometime lobbyist

This has been a couple of very busy weeks in Salem as everyone rushed to get their legislation finalized and submitted.  The State Bank bill was amongst those being worked on, and now we finally have something very concrete to report on.   We have not just one state bank bill but three, and we are ready to move on to passing some good solid legislation.

The first bill to be filed was HB 2972, filed in January by Bob Jenson, Republican-Working Families Party Representative from Pendleton.  At the same time, Phil Barnhart, Democrat-Working Families Party Representative from Eugene, was working on a similar draft.  We met with Reps. Barnhart and Jenson, as well as with Treasurer Ted Wheeler (also, by the way, a Working Families Party cross-nominee) to refine and amend the original draft bill.  The result was a House Bill introduced by the Revenue Committee on Feb. 17, (no bill number yet), and a parallel Bill filed in the Senate, SB 889, introduced by the Senate Committee on General Government, Consumer and Small Business Protection, chaired by Chip Shields (yes, another WFP cross-nominee). The latter two bills will be amended further in the next few days to include some critical features of the original draft.

So what’s in these bills and do they do what we want?

Many of you read Treasurer Ted Wheeler’s op-ed in the Oregonian or heard his interview on KPOJ in which he called for a ‘virtual state bank’ and laid out what that would look like.  He reiterated his views in a letter to all legislators and at a meeting last week with relevant legislators and other ‘stakeholders.’

We were in agreement with most of what the Treasurer was calling for so it is worth outlining those points of agreement here:

  • This will not be a retail bank (hence the ‘virtual’ designation) and therefore will not compete with community banks and credit unions.  While the Bank of North Dakota has a retail function, it amounts to only 1% of its total deposits and is not what makes it important to the state’s economy.  Rather its main function, as will be the main function of the Oregon version, is to strengthen the local banking sector through participation loans, loan guarantees and loan purchases to help get credit flowing again to local businesses.
  • The ‘virtual state bank’ will consolidate all the State’s current economic development funds and programs under a single structure to allow for prioritization and rationalization of those programs and a better linking of them to the conventional lending of community banks and credit unions.
  • The ‘virtual state bank’ will also manage several large state funds, including the Oregon Growth Account, and put those to work via participation loans to help provide affordable credit for local businesses, thus allowing those businesses to start hiring again.
  • The ‘virtual state bank’ will also establish a lending program for small and start up farmers, something which is sorely lacking in the State’s current array of economic development tools.
  • The ‘virtual state bank’ will be governed by a Finance and Credit Board made up of the Governor, Treasurer and Commissioner of Labor and Industry, and a seven member Advisory Board consisting of community bankers, small business, farm, and community representatives.

So have we won?

Far from it.  These Bills have so far only been introduced.  They need to be assigned to Committees by the Co-Speakers Roblan and Hanna in the House and the Senate President, Peter Courtney. They then need to be heard in Committee, voted on, sent to the Floor of both Chambers and voted on and passed there.

What you can do to help:

We very much need your help at every step of the way.  Now is the time to visit, call, email, and write handwritten letters to your legislators.

We need you to send a personal note to our bi-partisan group of State Bank champions in Salem.  Tell them thank you and to please keep pushing this forward.  Ted Wheeler, Phil Barnhart, Bob Jenson and Chip Shields have to hear from you today. And if you’re a member or a supporter of the WFP, don’t hesitate to tell them that as well.

Go here for an easy way to contact all four of them:

Remember that even when we pass this Bill and have our ‘virtual state bank,’ the work has just begun.  Whether it does the job we need done depends entirely on who’s in charge and what decisions they make.  The state bank is simply a tool to help us build a vibrant local economy.  We are the ones who have to make sure that tool is put to good use.



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