Friday, January 29, 2010

Bradbury would create 'Bank of Oregon'
Bradbury would create 'Bank of Oregon' if he were governor
By Harry Esteve, The Oregonian
January 20, 2010

The state of Oregon should have its own bank so taxpayer dollars could help fund local businesses instead of boosting the profits of big multinational banks, says Bill Bradbury, Democratic candidate for governor and former secretary of state.

Bradbury announced his proposal today in Portland as part of his plan to find jobs for more Oregonians. The state bank, modeled on one in North Dakota, would form the cornerstone of his jobs proposal, he said.

"It's time to make Oregon's money work for Oregonians," Bradbury said. Small businesses are hurting because banks are squeezing off credit necessary for growth.

Oregon currently deposits hundreds of millions of dollars in a variety of banks, many of them the megabanks that wound up needing federal help to stay afloat after signing off on too many risky home mortgages. Bradbury's proposal would create the Bank of Oregon, which would partner with local banks to make loans to small businesses, economic development projects and start-ups.

"It's time to declare economic sovereignty from the multinational banks," Bradbury said. He said he discussed his proposal Tuesday night with state Treasurer Ben Westlund, who responded favorably. Westlund could not be reached immediately for comment.

Other elements of Bradbury's jobs plan include more money for schools, helping new farmers get started with loans and modern techniques and pushing for Oregon to become the "sustainability capital of the world" by continuing to give incentives for green energy projects.

Bradbury's jobs plan comes a little more than a week after his main opponent in the 2010 Democratic primary, former Gov. John Kitzhaber, released his jobs plan. Like Bradbury, Kitzhaber focused on renewable energy and sustainability, but also called for improved job training programs and a more stable state tax structure as keys to a better employment picture that goes well beyond the state's two-year budget cycle.

Bradbury's response: "People need jobs to feed their families now, not in 10 years."

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