It’s thoroughly depressing to see that the one Republican who claims she’s running for Treasurer is State Senator Chris Telfer. Telfer’s the one who claimed that a Secretary of State audit said that the State had billions of extra dollars lying around for the taking. When the Secretary of State’s office and Legislative Fiscal explained that that was simply untrue, Telfer continued to insist that it must be true. It was one of the more bizarre episodes in the Measure 66 / 67 campaign.
Here are selections from the Oregonian story in January:
Reports that Oregon has billions of dollars stashed away in surplus accounts -- fanned by Republican legislators and opponents of proposed tax increases -- are bunk, say the accountants who compile an annual report on the state's financial status.
"I'm always amazed that people could think there's a pot of gold here that no one knew about except the state controller's division," said Kathryn Ross, the statewide accounting and reporting manager in the Department of Administrative Services ....
In a news release earlier this week, Telfer said, "This report confirms that there are billions of dollars for use at the Legislature's discretion."
No, it doesn't, Ross said ...
Ken Rocco, the legislative fiscal officer, said he wrestled with this issue a year ago and wrote a long memo to lawmakers explaining why the ending fund balances weren't flush with money that could be used to fill budget holes.
"It's the same thing we said before," Rocco said. "The vast majority of these funds are tied up in various special kinds of trust funds, revolving loan accounts" and other restrictions.