News Column

New Bond Sale Will Finance Key Job-Creating Projects, Continues Trend of Treasury-Negotiated Savings for Taxpayers

May 1, 2014

SALEM, Ore., May 1 -- The Oregon State Treasurer issued the following news release:

Oregon's first general obligation bond sale of 2014 will finance government efficiency efforts and also major job creating projects in Salem and Junction City. The new bonds also will help finance efforts to build vital infrastructure projects statewide, which will help to improve Oregon's economic competitiveness domestically and abroad. The $59.1 millionOregon bond sale, completed last week, continues a trend of State Treasury-negotiated savings for taxpayers, and was helped by the state's strong and stable credit ratings. The 25-year bonds were priced at 3.26 percent. "The State Treasury is laying the groundwork for jobs and stretching public dollars further, through our judicious use of bonds and by keeping Oregon's credit ratings strong," said State Treasurer Ted Wheeler. The new bonds were authorized by the 2013 Legislature and will finance: - Oregon Health Authority -- Junction City Hospital ($22 million)

- Legislative Administration - First phase Capitol Master Plan projects ($16.5 million)

- Department of Revenue - Core System replacement ($10.7 million)

- Business Oregon / Innovative Infrastructure Project ($5 million)

- Military Department - Roseburg / Scharff projects ($2.7 million)

- Department of Justice - Improvements to Child Support Enforcement System ($2.3 million)

Oregon's recent history of budget discipline and adherence to a debt limit has helped the state to obtain general obligation credit ratings of AA+/Aa1/AA+ ratings by Standard & Poor's, Moody's Investors Service, and Fitch Investors Service respectively. The rating for Lottery-backed Oregon debt is AAA from S&P and Aa2 from Moody's. "This is our first state general obligation bond sale of the year, and it received a great reception from the market," said Laura Lockwood McCall, the director of the Treasury debt management division. "Our bonds were rapidly bought up by municipal debt investors at very favorable rates." Public borrowing is a powerful tool that can create jobs in the short term while improving roads, colleges and other public facilities. A proposal on the November ballot called the Oregon Opportunity Initiative would grant the option of using state bonds to help create a permanent, dedicated fund that would help make higher education and vocational training more accessible and affordable. Bonds need to be repaid, with interest, so the Oregon State Debt Policy Advisory Commission makes recommendations about how much public money should be devoted to loan repayment, in order to keep annual payments at a manageable level. The State Treasurer is the chair of the commission. The Oregon State Treasury protects public assets and saves Oregonians money through its investment, banking, and debt management functions. State investment policies are overseen by the Oregon Investment Council. The State Treasury also promotes public outreach and education to help Oregonians learn strategies to save money, invest for college and make smart financial choices. You can track Treasury-related news on Twitter at @OregonTreasury.

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Source: Targeted News Service

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