Oregon Senate passes stimulus package; on to the House

Carla Axtman

A jobs package totaling $176 million passed the Oregon Senate today.  The legislation is billed as an economic stimulus package that is expected to create 3000 jobs across the state. 

The plan targets infrastructure projects in all of Oregon's 36 counties.

The vote on the package was bipartisan, but not by much.

Predictably, leaders on the Republican side slammed the bill:

To make his case, Senate GOP Leader Ted Ferrioli took a jab at one of the projects, a $1,200 job to clear moss from the roof of a Department of Transportation building in Sweet Home.

"Why are we including moss removal and the painting of siding in this?" the John Day Republican said. "Why are we asking taxpayers to pay for these for 20 years? This rush to economic stimulus looks like panic to me."

How do infrastructure projects create jobs, Ted? Really?

Somebody has to remove the moss and paint the siding.  Not to mention the businesses who will get money from making and selling moss control and paint.  We're setting aside money to pay somebody to do those tasks and make those products.  In the real world, those are JOBS.  And given that one of the counties Ted represents (Grant) is bumping up against 16% unemployment--its tough to see how he can square his opposition to this job creation. 

In fact, Ferrioli represents a number of counties that are especially feeling the economic pinch. Grant County alone will get over $320k in job creation funds. Ferrioli represented Harney County (12.6% unemployment) gets $727k, Jefferson County (13.3% unemployment), $10,500 to name a few.

On Monday, uber conservative Rep. Dennis Richardson (R-Central Poing) griped about the plan too--whining about spending.  Apparently still longing for the days of Herbert Hoover, Richardson appears to be looking for a zero debt/slashing spending way to climb out of this hole.

Anyone know of some good book titles to send to the Oregon GOP legislators to bring them up to speed on how their economic ideology is an abject failure?

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    Of course, not all "jobs" spending is equal. At least infrastructure projects create things of lasting value - as opposed to, say, spending a few million providing taxpayer-subsidized jobs for poets and bloggers.

    (Ahhh, if only this really WAS an FDR-style program - we bloggers would be getting paid....)

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    Predictably, leaders on the Republican side slammed the bill

    Carla this is news to me! The Republican Party has leaders in Oregon?

  • Jägermeister (unverified)

    I remain skeptical about any state-based stimulus. $176 million dollars is only a drop in the bucket in terms of aggregate state spending, any stimulus is supposed to sizable enough to 'shock' the economy back into motion. And while it will ease some pain by putting an estimated 3,000 people to work, we have a lot more people than that who are unemployed already.

    The main thing that needs to happen is to shut down economic leakages. All money that is spent directly on jobs or indirectly on forms of capital spending should be local. I haven't heard anybody either at the state level or national level talking about the need to buy locally made American products. We absolutely need to keep this money circulating in our local/national economy and to prevent further spending on export goods, and yes gasoline is one of those goods.

  • AdmiralNaismith (unverified)

    Anyone know of some good book titles to send to the Oregon GOP legislators to bring them up to speed on how their economic ideology is an abject failure?

    Why bother? Republicans wouldn't read them anyhow.

    They don't have to. Their minds are made up.

  • StuckinSalem (unverified)

    Note Sens. Winters and Nelson were the Rs in support of the package (though they both voted to re-refer it to Ways and Means).

  • William Neuhauser (unverified)

    The idea that it "reaches every county" in Oregon is a sham. Yamhill County would get $3800 worth of "stimulus" to replace a window and clean moss? Second lowest only to Gilliam County which has only 2,000 people to Yamhill County's 85,000.

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    @ Kari,

    Not exactly bloggers, perhaps, but I did make a plea back in mid-December that "we should use more of the stimulus funds to hire the type of creative knowledge workers that could give Oregon a competitive advantage in the global economy of the 21st century. Construction workers will not give us that edge. So let’s hire engineers, researcher, scientists and designers. Let’s build an economy around them. They are today’s economic infrastructure. Construction projects are so 1930”s." (see here ) We are just not being 21st century smart.

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    William Neuhauser:

    The funds are definitely not proportional to population. Multnomah County (pop 701,986) gets $30M. Polk County (pop 75,265) gets $32M. Right there is half the state's funds.

    If I read it correctly, I don't see any funding whatsoever for Gresham - the state's 4th largest city at 100,000+ (more than many of the state's counties). I can think of plenty of projects out here, including BADLY needed work at Mt. Hood Community College.

    So obviously this package doesn't include as much as it should, but it is a start.

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    I'd like to see this package include a lot more job creation/stimulus--frankly. But given that we have a balanced budget requirement in Oregon and we've got a ton of other stuff to fund, I'd be curious as to how the lege could do more.

    And certainly we'd have to do the lion's share of the work without the GOP. They appear entrenched in their ideology, blissfully unaware of the pain in their districts....

  • Capitol Staffer (unverified)

    When asked about moss removal Senator Ferrioli said:

    It is just like the famous Whimpy cartoon where we will gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today. Through the use of bonds we will be paying for a single moss removal project for 10 to 20 years. That is a lot of Tuesdays.

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    Through the use of bonds we will be paying for a single moss removal project for 10 to 20 years.

    Then perhaps Sen. Ferrioli will step up and ask for tax increases and/or ending the kicker in order to pay for these projects immediately....

  • Molly (unverified)


    The jobs stimulus package passed yesterday by the Oregon Senate included over $50 million for projects at Oregon's 17 community colleges, including up to $1.2 million for Mt. Hood Community College. More info on the proposed projects can be found on the Legislative Fiscal Office's website: http://www.leg.state.or.us/comm/lfo/home.htm

    Posted by: Molly |

  • rural resident (unverified)

    The $1200 for moss removal is a task as opposed to a job. I hope we're not talking about creating some number of "jobs" like this, or the calculation will be completely meaningless. An individual could have two or three hundred "jobs" in a year.

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    I have to second Kari, here. A pork barrel is still a pork barrel, even if a Democrat proposes it. A new Democratic majority is not going to be created if we put on the same partisan blinders that the Bush administration have been wearing for the past eight years.

    An economic stimulus package should not include short term make-work projects like cleaning moss. Infrastructure projects should have long term positive economic benefits, not just create a job for someone for six months.

  • Jason (unverified)


    The problem I see with this stimulus package is that jobs are short-lived. Why not put the money in infrastructure projects that last at least two-years or more? Like highway/freeway improvements? Sewer systems? Jails?

    Heck, I could pay the neighbor boy $10 an hour to clear the moss off my roof and paint the side of my house. Why do we need government to pay for something like that?

    I'm not against a stimulus; I'm against paying for projects that have very little long-term value.

  • Jason (unverified)

    Here's something interesting:

    ODOT in Central Oregon has on its "priority" list to complete a project south of Bend that includes minor upgrades to Highway 97 between Lava Butte and Sunriver. The only reason ODOT applied for Federal Stimulus dollars for this project is because it's one of the few that is ready within the required time frame.

    But get this: all the jobs for this project will be contracted through out-of-state labor and there is absolutely nothing this project will do to create jobs or long-term economic development in the region. Nice. Federal dollars wasted for a local project that provides no local dollars.

    Other intersections in the area like Cooley/Hwy 97 in Bend - which needs to be improved for a large industrial complex to move forward (which is where the new Les Schwab Headquarters is located) - continues to be held up by ODOT's ridiculous standards and requirements that businesses pay the bill for an interchange at that intersection since ODOT is out of money.

    This new industrial complex opens up more industrial lands, which will reduce the price of that land; it allows local businesses to expand (creating family-wage jobs) and helps the City of Bend recruit new businesses. So why isn't the state and ODOT focusing on projects like this? Not only would construction of this interchange likely last 18-36 months, but it would make badly-needed industrial lands available for the creation of family-wage jobs.

    Instead, we're spending money on moss removal and contraception.

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    I think it would be fantastic to see longer-term jobs in this package. I suspect from reading through the list that the main problem is the expense of creating jobs of that nature.

    However, there are quite a number of projects in the package that are longer term. In addition, its my understanding that the shorter term projects will fall under the job of one person who will tackle several of these in succession.

    I'm wondering if we'll be seeing highway improvements and other bigger ticket projects in successive legislation, too.

  • LT (unverified)

    Winters and Nelson deserve praise for supporting the bonding bill. Wouldn't be a bad idea to call them and say so. And there may be some GOP votes for it in the House as well.

  • Vincent (unverified)

    Why bother? Republicans wouldn't read them anyhow.

    They don't have to. Their minds are made up.


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