August 13th, 2014 | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: Legislature, Politics, Schools

City Club Panel Endorses Ted Wheeler's Oregon Opportunity Initiative

news2_4029(wheeler)COLLEGE ON CREDIT: “There is always financial risk,” State Treasurer Ted Wheeler says of his plan to have the state borrow money to pay for college scholarships. He says Oregon’s investment history reduces that risk “pretty close to zero.” - IMAGE: WW Staff

A City Club of Portland research committee today issued a report endorsing a "yes" vote on Measure 86, otherwise known as the Oregon Opportunity Initiative.

The measure, proposed by State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, would use the state's borrowing capacity to fund college scholarships for needy Oregon students. The Oregon Legislature referred the plan to the ballot last year.

Although there are inherent risks in borrowing money to invest in volatile financial markets, Wheeler has argued that the state's long-term investment returns far exceed the cost of borrowing.

The City Club panel agreed with Wheeler, voting 7-2 to endorse the measure. It's worth noting, however, that none of the eight people the panel interviewed is an independent financial markets or risk management professional.

City Club members will now vote on whether to give the measure its official backing. 


“This measure has the potential to truly be a game changer for our state. The possibility of trade school or higher education benefits Oregon in myriad ways, and this ballot measure is an opportunity for Oregonians to show their support for keeping it affordable,” Committee Chair Charles McGee said in a statement. “After 30 years of declining funding, the state needs a new model for higher education, and a public endowment is a viable solution.
 
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