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Measure No. 29

Argument in Favor

Oregon's Business Leaders Support Measure 29

It is a well-worn phrase: "Why can't government run more like a business?" In fact, there are many cases when the principles of the private sector can improve the government's bottom line and accountability. Measure 29 is such a case.

With this Measure, government has an opportunity to refinance its debt obligation and save us money. This is a sound financial decision, and that is why we strongly urge our fellow Oregonians to join us in supporting it.

In the private sector, we are always looking for ways to lower the cost of debt in order to re-invest in the core business. That is what Measure 29 will do for Oregon. By refinancing the debt we all owe for the pension system, we can save over a billion dollars. That money, in turn, can be used on things that will improve the business climate and the lives of Oregonians: education, health care and other critical services.

Measure 29 is especially welcome because:

  • It allows the Treasurer to use the lowest-cost tool for this re-financing.
  • It will not raise taxes.
  • And it is very carefully written: Measure 29 does not open any opportunities for abuse. It can only be used for this specific, money saving purpose.
Please join Oregon's businesses ­ large, small, and those in between ­ by voting yes on Measure 29.

Kenneth Thrasher, CEO
Compli

Lynn Lundquist, President
Oregon Business Association

Richard Solomon, CPA

(This information furnished by Kenneth Thrasher, CEO, Compli; Richard B. Solomon, CPA; Lynn Lundquist, Oregon Business Association.)


Argument in Favor

An Important Message from State Treasurer Randall Edwards

With Your Help, We Can Save Millions of Tax Dollars

Dear Fellow Oregonian,

As your State Treasurer, it is my job to make fiscally responsible decisions about our money and any debts the state incurs.

That is why I asked the Legislature to place Measure 29 on the ballot. This Measure will refinance the debt Oregon owes for its pension system, saving us more than $1 billion.

The historically low interest rates we currently are seeing represent perhaps a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for taxpayers, just as it is for homeowners who are taking advantage of these rates to refinance their mortgages.

As an employer, the State faces a very large debt to the Public Employee Retirement System. With your support, I will be able to issue general obligation bonds to refinance this debt at the lowest cost and the greatest savings.

To do that, however, I need your permission. The Oregon Constitution requires that I get voter approval for these general obligation bonds. And we must act quickly, before interest rates go up. That is why you are voting on Measure 29 now.

If Measure 29 passes, I will immediately issue bonds that can save all of us more than $1 billion on our PERS obligation over the next 20 years. It will also mean immediate savings of $90 million that can help ease our current budget crisis. In a time when we are facing terrible cuts, this is especially important.

Measure 29 will not raise your taxes. It will save you money.

Please join me in voting yes on Measure 29!

Sincerely,

Randall Edwards
Oregon State Treasurer

(This information furnished by Randall Edwards, Oregon State Treasurer, Oregon State Treasury.)


Argument in Favor

An Urgent Message from The Coalition for School Funding Now!

IF YOU ARE CONCERNED ABOUT THE FUTURE OF OUR SCHOOLS, PLEASE VOTE YES ON MEASURE 29

The Coalition for School Funding Now! is an independent, non-partisan voice for Oregon's K-12 public schools. We are a grassroots statewide organization made up of parents, business leaders, community leaders, education advocates, students, teachers, school board members and concerned citizens who believe that each K-12 student in Oregon should have access to a high quality public education.

We advocate for our schools' immediate needs, and for long term solutions to Oregon's school funding problems. While Measure 29 isn't the ultimate solution to Oregon's school funding problems, it will help ease state budget cuts by many millions of dollars.

Measure 29 will reduce the cost of Oregon's PERS obligation by well over a billion dollars over the next twenty years. It does that by taking advantage of the current low interest rates, not by hurting people's pensions. The savings will be felt by our state government (which provides most of the funding for schools) AND by local school districts. That is money that can go back into the classroom.

Measure 29 will not raise taxes. It is something we can all do to help our schools and improve the state's fiscal management. Please Vote YES on Measure 29.

(This information furnished by William D. Thorndike, Jr., Coalition For School Funding Now!)


Argument in Favor

MEASURE 29 IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT
FOR OREGON'S SENIORS
By Esther and Hugh Ewart

As older Oregonians, we have been especially troubled by some of the challenges created by our budget crisis. Many of the cuts have had a terrible impact on Oregon's seniors:

  • Loss of help with prescription medicine that people need to live;
  • Cuts to home assistance that help the elderly maintain an independent life;
  • In some cases, it has meant the loss of their homes.
At the same time, many seniors face limited, fixed incomes. We have to be very careful with our money.

That is why Measure 29 is so important for senior citizens: it will save over a billion dollars that can be applied to critical services.

And Measure 29 will do so without raising a penny in taxes. In fact, it will lower the amount of debt we are all responsible for by taking advantage of low interest rates. And while Measure 29 refinances Oregon's public pension obligation, it will not harm a penny of any senior's retirement. That is important.

Finally, we can be confident that Measure 29 doesn't open the door to any future problems or mischief. It is very carefully drawn as a one-time-only money saving device. It does not allow the issuance of any other bonds without a vote of the people.

Measure 29 is a very good deal for all Oregonians.
But it is a Yes vote that Oregon's seniors should feel
especially good about casting.

(This information furnished by Esther Ewart, Hugh Ewart.)


Argument in Favor

YES ON MEASURE 29:
SAVE MONEY, HELP PROTECT SCHOOLS,
SENIORS AND SERVICES
WITHOUT RAISING TAXES

Across the nation individuals are taking advantage of historic low interest rates by refinancing their mortgages. Why? Because it will save them many thousands of dollars over the life of their loan.

Oregon's state government has the same kind of opportunity with Measure 29. But in this case, it will save us over a billion dollars ­ and that's just for a start.

MEASURE 29: SAVING OVER $1 BILLION
BY REFINANCING OUR CURRENT PERS DEBT

We have all read about the huge shortfall in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS). With Measure 29, the State Treasurer will be able to issue General Obligation Bonds that will in effect re-finance the PERS debt, saving over $1 billion over the next twenty four years. That won't increase the money we owe ­ it will actually decrease our debt by saving tremendous amounts of interest. And Measure 29 won't harm a single person's pension.

MEASURE 29: HELPING SCHOOLS, SENIORS
AND OTHER CRITICAL SERVICES

The savings from Measure 29 is money that would otherwise have to be paid by every state and local government agency, including every school district in Oregon. That means more desperately needed funding for our classrooms, senior services, health care, mental health care and other critical services ­ all without raising state or local taxes.

WHY DO WE HAVE TO VOTE ON MEASURE 29?

The most cost effective way to refinance our public debt is through general obligation bonds, which requires a technical change to the Oregon Constitution. Without Measure 29, we will have to use more expensive methods.

As voters, we sometimes face difficult choices on the ballot. This isn't one of them.

VOTE YES ON MEASURE 29

"It's a sensible plan that should result in substantial savings..."
The Register-Guard, July 21, 2003.

(This information furnished by J. Kevin McAuliffe, Committee to Save Us Money.)


Explanatory Statement

Legislative Argument in Support

Arguments in Opposition

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