Oregon Legislative Update: Prize-Linked Bill Passes Senate Committee

TwinStar President and CEO Jeff Kennedy testifies in support of the prize-linked savintgs bill before its passage by a key Senate committee.

After much discussion and debate, HB 2893, the prize-linked savings bill promoted by the Northwest Credit Union Association passed the Senate Business and Transportation Committee by a vote of 5-0, sending it to the Senate floor as its final stop before the Governor’s office.

HB 2893 permits financial institutions to conduct savings promotion raffles subject to specified conditions and allows the Director of Department of Consumer and Business Services to adopt rules regarding savings promotion raffles. Testifying in support of the bill was Jeff Kennedy, President CEO of TwinStar Credit Union, and Pam Leavitt, Legislative Policy Advisor for the NWCUA.

Kennedy’s testimony stated, “There are monthly drawings, with the winners receiving $50, quarterly winners receiving $5,000, and an annual prize of $5,000. In the first year of the program, TwinStar Credit Union had 47 winners, receiving a total of $17,200. Last year we had 50 winners, receiving a total of $17,350. The program is not open to employees of the program, so this year we have launched our own internal program to promote regular savings habits amongst our 350 employees. So far we have 63 employees participating with 12 winners receiving a total of $650 in the monthly drawings. The annual drawing winner will receive $500.”

Kennedy’s testimony continued: “We view this program as a ‘win-win’ for our members. ‘Save to Win’ is designed to appeal to a broad demographic, with specific features to make the product easily accessible to financially vulnerable members. The program successfully attracts low to moderate income families and has positively impacted their savings behavior. And in addition, they have the opportunity to receive cash rewards, which are enhanced by their own positive savings behavior.”

Oregon Supreme Court Rules on PERS Reform

Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court announced their decision to overturn major PERS reforms which was part of the 2013 “Grand Bargain” legislation that would have saved the state close to $5 billion in unfunded liability.

“Today we lost 95% of critical savings from PERS reform,” said Senator Tim Knopp (R-Bend) on the decision. “That means larger class sizes; fewer school days; teacher layoffs; eliminating programs like art, music and PE in schools; tuition increases at community colleges and Oregon universities; fewer police officers, firefighters, and prison guards; fewer resources for fixed-income seniors; cuts to community mental health services; park closures; a reduction in sustainability and community development programs; and significant reduction in other critical services. The legislature must take immediate action to streamline bloated government, create jobs and seek legal PERS reform without raising taxes before Oregon falls off this looming fiscal cliff.”

Beginning in 2017, local governments and school districts will face PERS rate increases of around 5.5% of payroll, crippling budgets and forcing cuts to critical services. Meanwhile, the legislature will face the challenge of filling a nearly $5 billion hole in the state budget from unfunded PERS liabilities. “We have to end the cycle of placing the bandaid of higher taxes over bloated state government and ballooning liabilities,” said Senator Knopp.

Senator Courtney released this statement, “The Supreme Court has done its job. Now it’s time for the legislature to do its job. We need to balance the budget. We need to give Oregon what she needs to grow. We need to boost the economy. We need a transportation plan. It’s time for us to come together for Oregon and her people.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

 

Posted in Advocacy News.