OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICANS
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: Nick Smith
February 23, 2012
‘NO CREDIT? NO PROBLEM’: DEMOCRATS PUSH DEBT BOMB
IN FINAL DAYS OF SESSION
SALEM— House Republicans today opposed a partisan effort to increase the state’s debt to fund political pet projects. Democrats unsuccessfully pushed a “minority report” that adds nearly $30 million in new lottery-backed bonding to an otherwise widely-supported bill.
The original bill, which ultimately passed the House, gives a Central Oregon city more flexibility to facilitate private sector development and job creation, and was unrelated to lottery bonding.
“From Salem to Washington D.C., government is borrowing too much money on the backs of our citizens,” said House Republican Leader Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “Excessive government spending and debt jeopardizes funding for essential services and threatens our economic recovery. Rather than pushing Oregon’s debt closer to unsustainable levels, the Legislature must bring spending under control and allow businesses to create more private sector jobs.”
Democrats attempted a parliamentary tactic to increase borrowing against state lottery revenues, despite warnings from state officials to avoid new lottery-backed bonds. This session, House Republicans have consistently opposed new lottery bonds because the state is near its capacity to sustainably repay the loans and is already spending approximately 25 percent of all lottery revenues on debt service. Capacity for new lottery bonds has also been further limited by a decrease in state lottery revenues.
“It’s reckless to use state debt as a personal credit card to fund political pet projects,” said Deputy Republican Leader Matt Wingard (R-Wilsonville). “More debt and more government ‘stimulus’ will not fix Oregon’s chronic unemployment. During this economic downturn, we must live within our means, not borrow more than we can afford, and pass legislation that creates jobs without increasing debt.”
Despite the Democrats’ failed minority report to SB 1544, the bill was approved by a bipartisan majority and will go to the Governor’s desk for his signature.