Economic Stimulus

Locals bring ideas to Wednesday forum

Tucked inside Sen. Rick Metsger's report from the Senate Special Committee on Economic and Job Stimulus, was an interesting suggestion put forth by John Arens, Hood River County Commissioner.

"Consolidate county and state service facilities, such as road maintenance facilities in Hood River County" was Arens suggestion to Metsger and legislative associates in a forum last month on meeting the state's estimated $830 million budget shortfall.

Metger terms the report "a preliminary analysis of short-term and long-term ideas on ways to attract and grow business in Oregon, as well as other actions to improve Oregon's economy and create jobs."

The report consists of over 270 action ideas collected from invited witnesses, public comment, and legislators; Hood River's turn was Dec. 18. Ideas pertained to economic development structure, regulatory systems, taxation, government efficiency, and public contracting.

Arens also suggested supporting "an initiative to increase the limitation on property taxes going to schools."

Arens' fellow commissioner, Carol York, urged the senators to "allow the Confederated Tribes of the Warm Springs to develop a casino at Cascade Locks."

Other locals' ideas on the list were:

Revamp Oregon tourism marketing with a regional emphasis. -- Craig Schmidt, director, Hood River Chamber of Commerce;

Rein in regulatory activities facing agriculture and other small business, especially work rules. -- Camille Hukari, orchard owner;

Support federal efforts to increase Medicaid funding. -- Barbara Archer, La Clinica del Carino Family Health Care Center;

Enhance support for cooperative tourism marketing. -- Dave Riley, Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort;

Endorse "country-of-origin" labeling legislation. -- County Commissioner Chuck Thomsen.

Those ideas, and others, will be on the table tonight when Metsger holds a town hall meeting on the economy, at 6:30 p.m. at Hood River Valley Adult Center.

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