Senator Ferrioli: What is Oregon maxing its credit limit on?

Legislature “maxed out” state credit limit, but on what?
By Senate Republican Office,

Salem, OR – The majority party took the state credit card on a spin last session, racking up so much debt that State Treasurer Ted Wheeler (D) issued a strong warning against further borrowing on Friday. But what did the state get for all that spending? “We said it two years ago and we will say it again, borrowing to continue the legislature’s addiction to spending is fiscal mismanagement,” said Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli (R-John Day). “Unfortunately, that is exactly what the majority party has done, and we have little to show for their efforts.”

At the outset of the 2009 session, it took Democrats less than a month to charge $175 million in pork barrel spending to the taxpayer’s credit line. Called the “Go Oregon!” stimulus project, it turned out to be a pathetic failure. The project borrowed money to pay for maintenance projects around the state, a maneuver most businesses would avoid as fiscally irresponsible. Many of the projects were as silly as replacing door hardware, pulling up juniper bushes, treating roofs for moss and installing light bulbs. The Go Oregon! plan routinely failed to meet minimum requirements and benchmarks set for it. Moreover, Senate President Peter Courtney (D-Salem) wants Oregonians to regard it as a mere coincidence that $12 million went to his employer at Western Oregon University.

Most importantly, the $175 million in spending failed to make a dent in Oregon’s double digit unemployment rate. Today Oregon hovers at the same number of unemployed individuals as it did two years ago.

“Not only has the majority party spent beyond Oregon’s self-imposed limits, but they have spent it foolishly,” said Ferrioli. “Democrat leaders in the Legislature “maxed out” our credit line, but Oregonians aren’t any better off today than they were two years ago.”

Wheeler said on Friday that the state must stop borrowing until the economy recovers. His warning was endorsed by the state’s Debt Policy Advisory Commission. The Legislature has authorized more than $1 billion in new borrowing this budget cycle, putting the state well over the recommended debt-to-income ratio.

If Democrats retain control of the legislature, their only option is to ignore the warnings of the Debt Policy Advisory Commission and continue spending at unsustainable levels.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    $175million, thats about $100 per taxpayer in the state. Talk about outrageous.

    • Charles Finley

      Well, keep in mind that Ferrioli isn’t so much complaining about the AMOUNT, but rather the EFFECTIVENESS of the borrowing.

      That’s smart, considering he voted in favor of over $1 billion worth of borrowing in the 2009 session. One can be in favor of borrowing responsibly but still opposed to careless uses of those proceeds.

      What is very interesting about his post is where he is concerned about the Democrats retaining control of the Legislature and borrowing at unsustainable levels… because the natural progression from that is to examine the difference in stances between the two Treasurer candidates:

      Wheeler (D), who just recommended a halt to borrowing, versus
      Telfer (R), who voted in favor of billions in borrowing in 2009. (See SB 5505)

      Kinda makes your head spin, doesn’t it? The Democrat being the fiscally responsible one!?

      • Rupert in Springfield

        >Kinda makes your head spin, doesn’t it? The Democrat being the fiscally responsible one!?

        Not really. I have never argued that Republicans are naturally more fiscally responsible than Democrats. Neither have most conservative commentators nor the populace at large. We all remember quite well Rush, Hannity et. al. railing against the Bush spending while it was going on, especially on his ridiculous prescription drug plan. This also is why we see the phenomenon of the tea party. Hardly partisans they are mad as hell at Republicans over spending and not about to just go along with the party candidate just because they have an R after their name.

        I wasn’t arguing this from a partisan perspective. And like Ferrioli was arguing about the effectivness. $100 per taxpayer is a lot to fork over for a dopey program that didn’t do anything. I dont think one can naturally trust a Republican to either make the program more effective or cost less. If you think you can naturally trust a Democrat to do the same you are probably mistaken.

        • Charles Finley

          Sorry Rupert, that should have read “Kinda makes ONE’S head spin, doesn’t it?”

          Wasn’t trying to call you out specifically.

  • Rob DeHarpport

    Everyone knew that this was another boondogle except for the majority in Salem. Short term “make-work” projects that we will be paying for over a long period of time– this waste was no different than Obama’s “Stimulus.” Adding debt–kicking the can down the road–failure to realize that guvment doesn’t create jobs. Absolutely pathetic leadership from the party in power, both nationally and in Oregon. $175 million down the drain….
    These guys should try to compete on the TV show; ” Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader.”

  • Britt Storkson

    Government has degenerated into a buyoff/payoff scheme where everybody needs to be bought off or paid off using other people’s money taken by force (taxation).
    This will end when government can no longer buy off or pay off those being bought off to the level that they expect and demand.

    Now if you want something from government be it good or bad you don’t just elect someone who will make that happen. You have to buy your politician with campaign contributions. The politicians themselves structure this racket in such a way that the campaign contributor gets more back than he/or she contributes making this move a good business decision. It’s great for those who can “buy in” and really bad for the average taxpayer who is forced to pay the bill and get next to nothing in return.

  • maxgramm

    What Senator Ted also forgets to mention is that in 2003, the last time oregon had a recession, he was part of the leadership team that borrowed money to pay for services. Today, we’re paying $70 million a year on that old 2003 debt. And Ferrioli has the nerve to claim spending on roads, water storage, other infrastrucuture like ports, as well as buldings for our universities and community colleges is a waste of money. Truth is those are the projects that are putting construction workers back on the job and its the right kind of use for long term projects. This is all typical Ferriolli slash and burn politics that ignore the fact that when he was in charge, he made horrobile decisions — like borrowing millions of dollars to pay for a few months of services.

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