A Rule for Borrowers

The Register Guard (Eugene, OR), January 31, 2009 | Go to article overview

A Rule for Borrowers


Byline: The Register-Guard

Apparently the credit crunch has not affected state government, because the Oregon Senate has hurriedly approved bills allowing the sale of $176 million in bonds to finance construction and maintenance projects. It's Salem's version of the stimulus bill working its way through Congress - the Legislature intends to create jobs by spending borrowed money. As the House prepares to consider the bills, it should bear in mind a simple rule: Projects financed with debt should last at least as long as the period of the loan.

The $176 million would be spent on projects in all 36 Oregon counties, mostly on college campuses and at state buildings. Lane County's share would be $11.2 million - $8 million to repair buildings at Lane Community College, $2.9 million for maintenance at the University of Oregon and $312,000 to repair facilities owned by the departments of Forestry and Transportation.

Judging by what little is known about these projects, the investment seems worthwhile. Community colleges and universities, which would be among the largest beneficiaries of the legislation, have large backlogs of deferred maintenance. By spending money on repairs now, the state can avoid more expensive building renovations later. The projects would create an estimated 3,000 jobs, each one of which would be welcome. The measures passed the Senate Wednesday on a 20-10 vote, with two Republicans joining all 18 Democrats in favor. …

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