Wednesday, December 12, 2012

An Open Letter to my State Senator

Written in response to a general solicitation for feedback on the Economic Impact Investment Act.

Thank you Senator [] for the opportunity to comment on the Economic Impact Investment Act.  I'm deeply disturbed by the prospect of Oregon being bound for forty years through a law enacted with barely a week of consideration and review.  The process chosen by the governor for bringing forth this legislation guarantees that no one can honestly say they know what they're doing.

With that in mind, some suggestions:
  • This legislation should be a prelude to a law that can receive due and appropriate consideration in the 2013 session.  Emergency legislation should enable the governor to address what is truly an emergency and nothing more.
  • Toward that end, this legislation should include a sunset clause.  If the 2013 session doesn't see these powers as necessary than they are not necessary.
  • I make a living forecasting long term contingent liabilities, and I can tell you with some confidence that no one knows anything about what Oregon's economy will look like in 2050.  That is even more true when considering the fortunes of a single company, even one the size of Nike.  There is no good reason, either for businesses or the state of Oregon, to make promises about their conduct that far into the future.  Any dispensations granted as a result of this legislation should be limited to 20 years at the most.

Finally, a word of caution.  It may be tempting to look at locking in the status quo as a small thing.  But this legislation and the process by which it is enacted will set a precedent.  Who will come calling and what they will demand next Christmas?

No comments: