May 18, 2012
The first annual even-year session of the Oregon Legislature came and went in a fast-paced blur. We’re all busy doing the work we promised to do, and February seems like a long time ago now.
But there’s value in taking a moment to reflect on and celebrate some of the accomplishments of the session, and, at the same time, to talk about how that work is supporting our larger goals for building a stronger economy and enduring prosperity for Oregon.
Senate Bill 1532 is one of those accomplishments, and the Oregon Legislature deserves our thanks for passing a bill with bipartisan support that addressed some critical needs here in the state.
The bill updated a law that was originally passed in 1973, when apple was a fruit, google was just a really big number, and the phrase “personal computers” was still an oxymoron.
When faced with a public policy issue like this one, we often find that intentions are good, but that the solution can take a while. We didn’t really have “a while” with this problem: we had enthusiastic companies wanting to build or expand, and we had a one-month Legislative session in which to come up with a fix for 21st century industries.
I’d like to congratulate the Legislature for working across party lines to make that happen, and I’d like to recognize Facebook, Apple, Google, Via West, Adobe, Fortune Data Centers, Amazon, and Rackspace, which are investing for the long haul in Oregon communities and in Oregon workers.
This bill is an excellent example of what we’re trying to do on a broader scale in state government: help break down regulatory barriers, recruit world-class companies to Oregon, and create an environment where businesses feel confident and certain about making long-term investments in our state.
The investments these companies are making here mean jobs in high-tech, the trades, and construction. In counties like Crook County, which has double-digit unemployment, every 25 new jobs we create is the equivalent of 1,200 new jobs in the Portland metropolitan area.
The fact is, our efforts add up and make a difference. Together, we’re working to ensure that our state is the kind of place where businesses large and small, multi-national or a sole proprietorship, can innovate and grow, find qualified employees, and find support for investing and reinvesting right here in Oregon.