Yesterday, TriMet began accepting cash as a medium of exchange again. It would have been illegal for Oregon’s largest transit agency to protect its employees from this vector of disease if, in the short session earlier this year, the Oregon legislature had passed HB 4107, a regulation that would have become law had there been no Republican walkout. This was the wrong year to ban the cashless business model, but is there ever a good time to pass laws that stifle innovation?
HB 4107 was a solution in search of a problem. There is still no evidence people who prefer to pay in cash are unable to buy what they need. People who choose to transact in that way can find businesses that choose to do business that way.
So now I’m wondering if the same political party that encourages us to wear a mask can encourage the unbanked to endure the discomfort of opening up a checking account if they want to buy from businesses that don’t want to deal with the costs of handling cash. It’s not that hard. It’s actually convenient.
Eric Shierman lives in Salem and is also the author of We were winning when I was there.