“Two years into a business-government partnership to rebuild Oregon’s economy, Southern Oregon business leaders said ensuring stable financing for improved and affordable public education at all levels should be the top priority for 2005. ”

“Education is our No. 1 priority,” said Roger Stokes, president of Brill Metal Works, a Central Point manufacturer. “We can’t function without good people, if we don’t have well-trained people, people with the ability to think.”

They also heard expressions of fear from small business owners that if voters abolish the State Accident Insurance Fund in November, premiums for private workers’ compensation insurance could become unaffordable.

Southern Oregon’s economic development strategy hinges on luring small businesses from states with higher business costs, an approach that could be undermined if voters abolish Saif

“One of the things that Oregon offers right now is very good accident insurance through Saif,” said Gordon Safley, executive director of the Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc.



Polling firm Davis, Hibbitts & Midghall recently conducted a survey of 500 Oregonians for Oregon Business (see PDF of results). Respondents ranked a series of priorities for achieving a healthy economy in Oregon over the next five years. At the head of the pack: keeping Oregon manufacturing and high-tech jobs from being sent overseas. Next in line: maintaining the funding and quality of K-12 education; promoting job growth in rural Oregon; ensuring that public universities are top-notch and affordable.


January 16, 2004 – Thirty-eight percent of Oregon business owners said they could foresee relocating their company to another state, according to a survey released Friday.

While almost 40 percent of Oregon business owners say they could foresee moving, only 21 percent of Washington business owners gave a similar answer. The regional finding was 25 percent. The reason most frequently cited was the “anti-business” environment in each state.

“Although key indicators such as employment, capital investment, profitability and revenue point to a more positive future later in 2004, the lukewarm business confidence measure for the near term indicates business owners are skittish and want to see another quarter or two of positive trends before they fully commit to decisions tied to an expanding economy,” said Robert Gruber, president of The Rainier Group, which provides business transition planning for privately held companies.



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