Oregon Political Leaders Must Act Quickly To Seize A Once-in-a-lifetime Economic Attention

Economic Attention: The work of the state semiconductor competitiveness task force I co-chaired with Gov. Kate Brown and Portland General Electric CEO Maria Pope, combined with the new federal CHIPS Act, has propelled Oregon to a point where our state stands poised to capitalize on the economic opportunity of a lifetime.

But reaching the goal line does not imply resting now and somehow assuming success will arrive by magic.

Oregon Political Leaders Must Act Quickly To Seize A Once-in-a-lifetime Economic Attention

The CHIPS Act has been hailed as a landmark piece of legislation that will increase domestic production of advanced computer chips that consumers rely on in their home appliances, vehicles, electronics, and more. This has prompted fierce competition among states to reap the benefits of the CHIPS Act.

To achieve success in Oregon, the next legislature and Governor-elect Tina Kotek need to get to work right away after taking their oaths of office next month.

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For more family-wage jobs to be created in Oregon’s semiconductor industry, our state legislature must act swiftly on upcoming concrete proposals to improve the state’s semiconductor workforce pipeline, locate suitable industrial land, restore and improve the state’s research and development tax credit, and incentivize the semiconductor industry.

People in Oregon haven’t told me in any of my 1,000-plus town halls across the state’s 36 counties that moving quickly to create good-paying employment is a negative or low-priority notion, therefore we need to gauge our progress in days, not years.

Oregon Political Leaders Must Act Quickly To Seize A Once-in-a-lifetime Economic Attention
Oregon Political Leaders Must Act Quickly To Seize A Once-in-a-lifetime Economic Attention

Together with my Senate colleagues, I did a lot of groundwork to pave the way for progressive states like Oregon to pass their own legislation.

The CHIPS Act includes vital expenditures like $52 billion in grants to enhance semiconductor manufacture in the United States, making this an urgent need.

I also drafted the bipartisan Facilitating American-Built Semiconductors Act, which provides a 25% investment tax credit for domestic semiconductor makers in this and future years.

And Oregon has a good case to make to secure a lithography-focused National Semiconductor Technology Center that would stimulate more investment and employment, as befitting the law’s record five-year, $169.9 billion investment in public research and development.

For the sake of national security and employment creation in Oregon and across the nation, it is imperative that we rebalance our semiconductor supply chains away from China and back towards local sources, such as well-established locations in the Silicon Forest and throughout our state.

I’ll let Oregon’s semiconductor firms talk for themselves, but I did hear personally this autumn at HP’s Corvallis headquarters how the CHIPS Act has encouraged HP to continue expanding and investing in the city.

A similar discussion took place this autumn with Microchip’s top brass in Gresham, as the firm considers a massive multibillion-dollar expansion of its fab in east Multnomah County.

The CHIPS Act and the Oregon State Task Force present a one-of-a-kind opportunity for Janelle Bynum and Kim Wallan to develop strategies for luring and retaining high-tech industries, such as those that produce semiconductors.

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These state lawmakers’ bipartisan pledge – as the Democratic chair and Republican vice chair of the Oregon House Committee on Economic Development and Small Business – to move promptly is welcome and important.

What better time than during the 20th annual Oregon Leadership Summit this week for all of our state’s leaders to vow to move promptly on this economic opportunity of a lifetime?

There is no time to lose for Oregon to do what it does best, which is to compete on an even playing field and win thanks to the quality of its goods and its innovative spirit.

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