Standing in front of an FEI scanning electron microscope today, Governor Kitzhaber signed HB 4040, the Oregon Investment Act, into law; setting in motion a strategy to better leverage the state's economic development investments.
"The Oregon Investment Act is essential to help us leverage our limited public resources and get our local businesses the resources they need to grow," said Governor Kitzhaber. "By encouraging the private sector to partner with the state's economic development efforts, we can help spur an economy of innovation in Oregon."
The Oregon Investment Act:
Allows private investors to partner with public economic development efforts, magnifying their positive impact.
Allows consolidation and simplification of existing economic development resources and efforts under a unified strategic framework.
Creates a flexible and nimble approach to investments, with the ability to adapt to quickly-changing conditions.
Treasurer Wheeler, who organized the statewide coalition of business leaders and bipartisan lawmakers behind the legislation during the 2012 legislative session, was pleased to see the bill signed into law.
"The Oregon Investment Act puts us on a path toward a smarter and more coordinated economic development strategy, which will better respond to business needs and increase accountability," said Treasurer Wheeler. "This is the right approach to making key investments that will help invigorate our economy and increase wages."
"I am excited to celebrate the passage of HB 4040, but this is only the beginning of the road," said Representative Tobias Read, D-Beaverton. "I'm looking forward to working with the Governor, the Treasurer, Business Oregon, and business leaders around the state as we pursue effective use of our economic dollars for the long run."
The blueprint was drafted based on input from Oregon businesses, who met with the Treasurer, legislative architects and state economic development officials during a six-month statewide tour. The plan won the endorsement of the state's major business and business labor associations, and also newspaper endorsements from across Oregon.
The legislation calls for the creation of a new Oregon Growth Board that will catalog Oregon's economic development spending and then draft a plan to both consolidate resources and leverage additional investment to maximize long term job creation across the State. Currently, several agencies devote resources to economic development purposes. While each agency has goals, the programs and results are not consistently tracked or grounded in a unified strategy.
The Governor will appoint members to the Oregon Growth Board, which will also include the Treasurer. The 10-member panel will allow the state to react more quickly and to better prioritize public resources. In addition, the framework will open the door to additional private sector investments in Oregon companies, which will help to address a capital gap facing both new and established companies.
The bill had 54 sponsors and cosponsors, representing over half of the Oregon legislative assembly. The chief sponsors were Rep. Read; Rep. Vicki Berger, R-Salem; Sen. Chris Telfer, R-Bend; and Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin.