Expose Your Local Government Debt

How much debt does your local Oregon government — that’s you — owe? To determine your personal share, get a “preliminary official statement” (POS). A POS is a “plain English” document created before bonds are sold, as Jack Bogdanski covered in his Sept. 28, 2007 blog “Portland: A city deep in hock.”

After reviewing a recent city POS, Bogdanski calculated “the average man, woman or child living in Portland right now owes around $7,500 in long-term debt to individuals and corporations who own the city’s bonds.” Add in the debt of Multnomah County, Metro, Tri-Met, Portland Community College and Portland School District, and Bogdanski’s math calculates per capita city resident debt around $8,200. This figure, of course, does not include state and federal debt.

Bogdanski explains, “the “˜POS,’ as it’s known, has to be written in plain English. It’s essentially a sales pitch, but by law, it must disclose all the material facts that an investor would reasonably want to know in deciding whether to invest in the city’s IOU’s. Financial institutions that buy bonds (i.e., lend big bucks) don’t want hundreds of pages of hide-the-ball data”¦. No, they demand the straight skinny.”

The skyrocketing national debt gets much attention. However, more light should be thrown on local government debt throughout Oregon and the rest of the country. Expose the fiscal rot by getting a copy of a preliminary official statement and share it with your friends and local newspaper editors.

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 5 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • CRAWDUDE

    Just when you thought it was safe to back in the water….

    I just read Sam Adams now wants to pay a company to make bio-diesel from our after treatment sewage e.g. clean by products. We spend all the money to clean our sewage and he wants us to spend more so his fat cat friends can make money producing a product?

    He shold look at this article and figure where he’s got the cash to do this. Portland needs to elect some fiscally responsible leaders before it’s too late, personally I think it is too late.

    I will not be here when these bills come due I hope!

  • Bob Clark

    For the city’s taxpayers, Portland is becoming very scary. Property taxes this year went up over 10%, or three times faster than inflation or wage increases. Once more, Portland’s obligations are mounting what with the obligation to build covers over Mt. Tabor water reservoirs, city councilors talking about helping build the $200 million-plus Metro convention hotel, wind mill aspirations, and a myriad of other non-basic ventures. And for another, the flow of retirees migrating and bringing bounty from home sales in hot real estate markets such as California is likely to dry up for awhile, putting a dent in the local economy and tax revenues, too.

    • CRAWDUDE

      Don’t forget Sam Adams new plan to pay a company to use the sewer waste once it’s been decontaminated……………sounds like the taxpayers are going to pay on both ends of this sham from Sam.

  • Terry Parker

    Much of Portland’s debt involves paying for transit and bicycle infrastructure. Transit users pay only 21 percent of transit operating expenses, Bicyclists are subsidized at 100 percent by taxpayers and contribute zero in direct tax dollars to help pay for bicycle infrastructure. Sam Adams’ priorities to create a cost prohibitive web of taxpayer subsidized streetcars and a taxpayer subsidized platinum level of bicycle infrastructure will only add to Portland’s horrendous debt. Both transit and bicycle infrastructure need to be paid for by the uses, and not have the costs piled onto a debt level that is already far too high There is no doubt, much of the is debt will end up being passed on to the next generation of Portland citizens. Fareless Square needs to be eliminated and transit fares including streetcar fares need to be increased to cover the costs of providing the service. Bicyclists too must start paying for the bicycle infrastructure they conspire to have built and then freely use. This must be done through taxes on the assessed on the bicycling mode of transport – including bicycle license and registration fees of $25 to $50 a year, or more.

  • Marvin McConoughey

    Missing in all bureaucracies is a department of wisdom.

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