HB 2345 New County Assistance Program

Signed into Law by Gov Brown on 07/27/2021
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2021R1/Measures/Overview/HB2345

This bill requires Oregon Business Development Department to distribute moneys in Oregon Rural Capacity Fund to Oregon’s Economic Development Districts for purpose of assisting rural jurisdictions to apply for and administer grants and other forms of funding available from any source.

Fiscal Responsibility
HB 2345 provides a onetime appropriation of $918,750 General Fund to the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD) and establishes the Oregon Rural Capacity Fund for the Department to provide resources to Oregon’s Economic Development Districts to assist rural jurisdictions to learn about, apply for, and administer grants from public and private sources. The measure requires rural jurisdictions to use resources solely for staffing and building capacity necessary for workforce, infrastructure, economic, and community development. The measure requires districts to file quarterly reports with OBDD about assistance given to rural jurisdictions. Authorizes OBDD to retain 5% of moneys credited to the Oregon Rural Capacity Fund to pay administrative and operational expenses. The Legislative Fiscal Office notes that although the measure creates a new ongoing program and establishes a new Fund that is continuously appropriated to OBDD, the measure provides a onetime appropriation for the 2019-21 biennium. LFO assumes that funding for this program for 2021-23 and future biennium will be addressed through the biennial budgeting process for the agency.

Limited Government
Oregon has 12 economic development districts (EDDs) covering all 36 counties, including one statewide tribal EDD and 11 regional EDDs. The EDDs often originate, package, and administer loans funded by state and federal programs, including the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration, the Small Business Administration, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The EDD loan programs support economic development and business capital needs within the requirements of their funding sources. The EDDs also provide other business services and regional planning functions. If EDDs perform as intended, this bill is unnecessary and duplicates work.

Local Control
Micromanaging rural counties with an assistance program to learn about, apply for, and manage grants and other funding opportunities to support workforce, infrastructure, economic development, and community development.

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