State Treasurer candidate Sen. Telfer lays out vision

Senator Chris Telfer, Candidate for Oregon Treasurer on her plans for reform
Candidate Profile Series,

With Oregon’s debt and deficits looming large, financial solutions and experience are in high demand. Chris Telfer, an entrepreneur, Certified Public Accountant, former Bend Councilwoman, and current State Senator, thinks she has both. She’s running for State Treasurer because she wants to use her expertise to help solve Oregon’s financial problems through flexible long term planning, and encouraging instate bond investment. She also believes financial transparency would increase accountability and proper financial management.

According to the State Treasurer website, the treasurer, “serves as the chief financial officer for the State and is responsible for the prudent financial management of billions of taxpayer dollars.” Senator Chris Telfer’s vision for the office of Treasurer is one word: transparency. The Treasurer is supposed to act as the Chief Financial Officer for the entire state, but that is not something that is being done. “I would organize one repository in the state to which all the units of governments, the agencies, report, and make that information available online all in the same place. Right now agencies report in different formats and not comprehensively, so no one really knows what the financial status of the state is on any given day. I once asked the Legislative Fiscal Office how the state was doing financially that day, and they said, ‘We don’t really know—if there were a problem presumably we would hear it from an agency.'” Senator Telfer wants what she calls “true fiscal oversight” for the state. She says the problem with the treasury is that it doesn’t do cash flow analysis and thus doesn’t have any input in the budgetary process.
Recently, Governor Kitzhaber stated that he “wants the state to look at six- to eight-year budget planning cycles to better prepare for the future.” Senator Chris Telfer agrees that this is a good idea. As a Bend Councilwoman, she implemented a long range financial planning process. She stresses, however, that these plans and projects must remain flexible. “The demands of the economy and the needs of citizens change.”
With Oregon facing a $577 million in deficits, many want to reevaluate how things are done in Salem.

As Oregon Treasurer, Senator Chris Telfer says she would concentrate on protecting Oregon debt levels. She argues that the state needs to establish goals and work with the resources it has to meet those goals. Senator Telfer wants to provide the state with strategic planning. If elected, she says, “I’d make sure we protect the treasury and taxpayers from borrowing to much to balance the deficits. I’d make sure we protect our bond rating and debt level.” “Oregon does not have a revenue problem,” she says, “It has a spending problem.” “We need to revamp our entire budgeting process. Instead of trying to maintain current levels we need to look at the end result and figure out how to get there. I’d look at outsourcing some things. Washington County, for example, has not been hit as hard by the revenue shortfall because of the number of jobs they have contracted out.”

Senator Chris Telfer wants to “Actually make the Office of Treasurer worthy, by assisting the governor and legislature in developing a balanced budget. Mostly the state treasure has been a figurehead position in the past,” she says. “I want to change that.”

Oregon currently has 67 billion in assets and bonds invested outside the state. Senator Chris Telfer argues that “It would be prudent to invest more of this in Oregon. Shave off a little bit and put it in our local communities and banks.” “Our investment councilors,” she explains, “are wined and dined to invest money back east. I would bring a halt to that. I want to look at our investments objectively. We have business in Oregon that are worthy of investments and that would generate strong returns.”

Chris Telfer’s biography here

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Posted by at 06:00 | Posted in Measure 37 | 29 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • Roger

    The state is bankrupt.
    The current treasurer is a fool.
    We are hosed.

  • eagle eye

    I hope she’s more careful with accounting than with English grammar and spelling. Numerous small lapses here.

    • Moe

      She went to public schools.

      • eagle eye

        That’s no excuse!

        • Anonymous

          That’s just Jerry’s way of apologizing for his own incompetence. He was her teacher.

          • eagle eye

            Ah yes, Jerry, former public school employee. Isn’t he now in Arkansas? Did they deport him or something?

    • Steve Plunk

      Are the errors here or in her biography? I don’t think she wrote this piece so it’s unfair to criticize her for it. Besides, I’d rather have someone good with numbers in the position.

      • eagle

        In what purport to be direct quotes from her. e.g. “trying to maintaining”. There are others.

        • Admin

          That’s my fault. The verb tense was transcribed incorrectly from an oral conversation. It should have been an infinitive.

    • Ron Glynn

      WOW! You sure are petty!

      • eagle eye

        With all the stupid cracks here about “government schools”, I don’t feel bad about being petty.

        But it’s not really that petty: if you’re running for high office, or promoting someone for such, it’s a good idea not to do sloppy work. Especially if the job is something involving details, like finance.

    • Chris telfer

      I did not write the article.

      • Anonymous

        Glad to hear that, but “Chris telfer” is kind of an odd way to present your name. I hope the Secretary of State doesn’t invalidate you. Or worse yet, eagle eye might be watching!

  • a retired professor

    The idea to put trust fund money — probably mostly PERS — into in-state “investments” sounds very risky to me. In the case of PERS, probably illegal (by federal laws for pension funds).

    It sounds much like Bradbury’s “Oregon Bank” idea. A scam is the same scam whether it comes from the left or right.

    She wants to “redefine” the Treasurer’s job to “help” the Legislature and Governor do their jobs. I suspect this will be a tough sell.

    Some of the other stuff — rationalizing the information systems and making it more available — might be a good idea. Oregon state government website is not easy to use, especially when you need to find something.

  • valley p

    Interesting. It sounds like she is advocating “social” investing, which is what we on the left are more known for. That is, “picking winners and losers” by investing in Oregon rather than simply seeking the highest return available, whether that is in China or Denmark. I’m not saying I’m against the idea, but I think it is ironic to have a Republican advocating it. And it will be even more interesting to see how Republicans react to the idea.

    Planning way ahead sounds great, but no one planned for the economy to collapse into a heap during the last throes of the Bush Administration. Bend in particular was creamed when real estate, its main industry, went south. Financial planning is only helpful when the future is somewhat predictable.

    Businesses all over the nation, presumably including Oregon, are sitting on tons of cash. They are not investing it in their own productivity because there are few buyers for their products, whether we are talking houses, cars, or anything beyond new computer gizmos. They are waiting to see what shoe drops next. So investing more money in these businesses seems a bit redundant when they already have plenty of capital.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Interesting. It sounds like she is advocating “social” investing, which is what we on the left are more known for.

      Most people probably see through this – you are trying to change what she said, investing locally, into what you want to argue, investing socially.

      The two are very different.

      But wait….here are two things that are the same!

      >Businesses all over the nation, presumably including Oregon, are sitting on tons of cash…. So investing more money in these businesses seems a bit redundant when they already have plenty of capital.

      Uh Oh

      Does not compute.

      Error….error…..

      Business sitting on tons of cash means Tefler local investing program is redundant.

      But if that’s true – then BO program of $300B in credit for business loans is redundant as well.

      Does not compute – BO cannot ever be stupid – he is a Democrat.

      Republicans are always stupid, they are not Democrats.

      But programs the same, except Dear Leader spends more on program that is redundant than Tefler.

      *Dean Self Destruct sequence activated – Proceed from Fail Safe holding points*

      There are now five minutes to self destruct.

      Obama can not be wrong, all spending from him good. He spends more to loan to business so he is better.

      Chris Tefler program redundant, but same thing.

      Destruct….destruct………

      *There are now two minutes to self destruct.*

      How can Dear Leader be wrong??????

      How can Dear leader not be doing something redundant…..but I just called it redundant.

      Destruct…..destruct…..

      *There are now 60 seconds to self destruct………*

      …..Obama always right……Obama spending always good……….Must always defend Obama…Never question him…..Obama always right……

      *five*

      *four*

      *three*

      *two*

      *one*

      Initiate Self Destruct….Dean ill thought out Pop Off Code *DESTRUCT*

      The matador…..the matador……..Me…..Me……..

      • eagle eye

        It’s Telfer, not Tefler.

        You guys sure have trouble reading! What have you been up to?

        I can suggest a good eye doctor if that would help.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          OOoohhhhh Eagle Eye caught a spelling error of a persons name….OOoooohhhhh……..

          Big whoop. I regularly admit I am the absolute worst speller in the world. At least I am not some lame guy who all he can do is point out spelling and grammer errors.

          And even that you screwed up!

          I wasn’t going to point it out earlier, but you kind of deserve it now.

          Here is what you said above:

          *”In what purport to be direct quotes from her. e.g. “trying to maintaining”. There are others.”*

          That first sentence is a sentence fragment sport.

          Got anything constructive to add or is the attempt at the grammar/spelling thing about it for you?

          • valley p

            So Rupert, after your weird post, you are accusing others of not adding anything “constructive?” That is pretty funny.

            Sorry pal, but any time you direct investments towards something or somewhere for purposes other than the highest return, that is social investing. She wants to pick Oregon presumably to help boost Oregon and Oregonians, not to boost returns on investment. And if she did think Oregon business was a better investment return than anywhere else on the planet, including your favorite place South Carolina, what would THAT do to your theory about Oregon being such a lousy place to do business? Uh oh…that is the sound of Rupert’s head going plotz.

            As for Obama, it depends on the program. If he is targeting it to small businesses and start ups, notoriously risky investments that have trouble getting capital, then it may be worth a shot. If it is just spread around any old place then it probably is a bad idea.

            And the same is true for Telfer. If she is looking for safe harbor investments in Oregon, she is probably wasting her time. If she wants to use pension capital for high risk investments, then she is probably not fit for the job.

            I agree with you that Obama is incapable of “being stupid,” since stupid is a condition and he obviously does not suffer from it. However he is capable of backing policies that won’t work, especially given that he is limited by having to get 60 votes in the senate for anything.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >So Rupert, after your weird post, you are accusing others of not adding anything “constructive?” That is pretty funny.

            Hey – What can I tell you. When a clown has nothing to do but whine about spelling and grammar mistakes and then makes a basic grammar mistake in his whininess, ya just gotta laugh and point it out.

            Like I said, I originally held off because frankly its a little petty to be yammering about grammar and spelling mistakes in a post.

            However when someone prattles on in several posts about grammar and spelling and screws up as royally as eagle eye did you just have to laugh at him.

            As for the bizarreness of my post – lets face it, nothing is more bizarre than your inability to ever admit straight up when a Democrat is wrong.

            Obviously you do that here – you called Telfer’s program redundant right off the bat. No problem for you there, she is a Republican, so to you she is always wrong.

            With Obama, then you back pedal – maybe he was wrong, but only if it can be shown his program is not targeted, and if so, then if Telfer’s program is targeted, then maybe her idea is not so bad.

            You had no problem criticizing Telfer’s idea without knowing the details, but to be critical of Obama, then you need all the details.

            Its just simply a good illustration of your knee jerk reaction to criticize anything Republican and excuse anything Democrat. You did it, as expected, and that’s fine. You are who you are and you make no bones about being an absolute partisan.

            >Sorry pal, but any time you direct investments towards something or somewhere for purposes other than the highest return, that is social investing.

            Nope, you just have your terms screwed up, as well as your history.

            There is regional investing, where you invest according to a geographic area.

            There is social investing, where you invest for some social benefit, real or perceived.

            One is a subset of the other, but that is very different from them being the same. Like I said, no biggie, you just screwed up your terms.

            Your bigger mistake though is your attempt at irony, which is obviously wrong historically as is easily shown.

            You probably don’t now this since you don’t follow presidential campaigns very carefully, but a while back there was a VP candidate named Jack Kemp.

            His single biggest issue during that campaign was regional investing – tax breaks for geographic areas that had no jobs, so as to spur economic investment.

            It was termed an Enterprise Zone and he had championed them for years in the Senate before becoming the VP nominee.

            Now, that’s going back over a decade, so your contention that Republicans advocating regional investing is something novel is simply absurd.

            OK – Now you are up to speed on two things, the terminology, as well as your misunderstanding of Republicans historically regarding regional investing. Lesson learned.

          • valley p

            “You had no problem criticizing Telfer’s idea without knowing the details, but to be critical of Obama, then you need all the details.”

            I wasn’t criticizing her idea. I was pointing out that what she is proposing is what we liberals normally propose. I have no problem at all with social investment. I’m wondering why you so called conservatives are not complaining about what she is proposing.

            “There is regional investing, where you invest according to a geographic area.

            There is social investing, where you invest for some social benefit, real or perceived.”

            You are splitting hairs. If your purpose in investing in this state in order to improve the fortunes of people in this state, not to gain the highest market return, then you are engaged in social investing. You can spin it, but it doesn’t change anything.

            Yes, I remember Kemps program. It was social investing, including rigging the system by lowering taxes and regulations for investors in certain areas. How is that different than tax breaks for wind farms Rupert?

            I never claimed that Republican so called conservatives were not hypocrites did I? Saying one thing and doing another is par for the course. Deficits for example.

          • a retired professor

            The biggest difference between Kemp’s ideas and the wind farm boondoggle is that the wind farms are a stupid idea!

          • valley p

            You would have a hard time convincing the Danes of that retired prof. But whether it is a good or bad idea, the point is that it amounts to steering investment towards something that presumably has some social utility as opposed to investing for the highest direct dollar return. What is your position on this issue? Should public funds and/or tax policies be directed at social goods? If yes, then we can argue over the wisdom of any particular investment.

          • a retired professor

            I think the Danes are insane. I read recently that they are proposing clear cutting one of their national parks to make room for wind turbines. Utter insanity! They are in the grip of an obsession and delusion. Not the first time it has happened over there (though the Danes have been unusually sensible in recent history, for the most part).

            In some sense, all tax policy is social policy. But there are huge differences in kind, not just degree. A tax policy that encourages enterprise, thrift, and economic growth is much different than one that confiscates wealth, encourages dependence and sloth. They are both social policies, but they are suited to completely different social visions.

          • valley p

            I’m talking about TARGETED tax and investment policies, not general philosophical approaches. An Oregon investment strategy is a targeted one not aimed at highest return. As is a Kemp enterprise zone. Where do you come down on the use of such strategies? Should they be used at all? Or is the free market the only useful arbiter of investment wisdom?

            It seems to me this is a huge difference between left and right in this nation. Its a yes or no issue. Although once you say yes, then you can debate the wisdom of the particular program, whether wind turbines or otherwise.

            The Danes may be going too far with wind, though I will say their national parks are not like ours. they have farms and villages and managed forests in their parks. No wilderness, so if there is a clearcut it is probably a plantation in any case. (England does huge clearcuts in its national parks by the way). But the Danes also have zero oil imports, and have become the world leaders in wind energy technology and manufacturing. If they made a bad investment here, its hard to see it (not hard to see the turbines, just the mistake).

          • a retired professor

            As I said above,

            “It sounds much like Bradbury’s “Oregon Bank” idea. A scam is the same scam whether it comes from the left or right.”

            It would probably, with the Republicans, be more targeted to Oregon small business, especially the traditional kind; less to “social causes” like “alternative energy”. Of course, you can get weird hybrids, like the huge subsidized wind turbine farm planned for the Steens Mtn area and the Gorge. Hold out enough free money and some of those rugged independent ranchers will outdo the most shameless welfare queens. And of course there is the “alternative energy” lobby. It’s amusing, but sad, to see the Oregon environmental activist community twisting itself in knots over the Steens, Gorge, etc.

            So yes, this proposal from Telfer (or telfer, or Tefler, or whatever, LOL!) sounds a lot, mutandis mutandis, like proposals from the Oregon left in the person of Bradbury. I always get really nervous when the edge right and edge left get together. (Let’s not equate them to communists and fascists or nazis, please, that’s not it.) It strikes me as a bit of crackpot populism and it doesn’t matter that much whether it’s the left flavor or the right flavor.

            What it would really take to fix Oregon’s economy, in my opinion, is so far outside the realm of what is likely to happen here, that it’s almost not worth thinking about. But it is very telling that Oregon went from a high prosperity state to its present low (and sinking) level over a period of decades. Other resource based states — Colorado comes to mind — made the transition much much better. Something very wrong here.

          • don’t count your money when it’s sittin’ on the table, sucka

            “Something very wrong here.”

            Ugh, me think me have it!

            “mutandis mutandis” – should be “mutatis mutandis” – you did that on purpose, right?

            Do I get extra credit, you rascal, you?

            Oh, and, what have you got against fascists? Obama does a darn good impression of one, for those not too blinkered to see it.

            We’ll get your PERS money yet, my pretty…….

          • a retired professor

            Very good! Yes, that was a test. Pardon my Sanskrit. Or is that Greek? You get 10 extra credit points.

            But don’t count on getting my money. In the first place, you probably can’t. In the second place, I was only in PERS for less than a third of my time working for UO — I knew that the state was too dumb and too dishonest to trust with my pension plan — I realized they would steal it if they could, and probably couldn’t run it as well as I could — so I got out when we were given the chance.

  • Anonymous

    Well now, you obviously forgot the four noble truths:

    When a conservative/Republican publishes something written poorly, it is because he or she is “stupid.”

    When a conservative/Republican publishes something written well, it is because “someone else wrote it.”

    When a liberal/Democrat publishes something written well, we should all nod in wise agreement and believe it without question or fact checking.

    When a liberal/Democrat publishes something written poorly, you are a racist.

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