State Treasurer: $5 million in earnings ready to help schools

Treasurer Wheeler declares $5 million in earnings from Oregon Growth Account to aid schools
Recent distribution from successful investment allows for second declaration in two years
By Oregon State Treasurer,

TIGARD – Oregon will benefit from the state’s investments in emerging companies.  Treasurer Wheeler on Thursday announced returns of $5 million from the Oregon Growth Account, which invests a portion of Oregon Lottery proceeds to help develop startup companies. The earnings will be deposited in the Education Stability Fund and available to help the state cope with the current budget shortfall, Wheeler said at the quarterly meeting of the Oregon Growth Account Board.  “Oregonians have invested Lottery dollars in Oregon-based companies in order to help build a better future and to help create jobs, and now the returns from one of those successful investments will help schools and other vital programs,” Treasurer Wheeler said. “Everybody knows there is a clear need.”  The Oregon Growth Account was created by the Legislature in 1995 to help spur economic development by providing seed capital to growth businesses. One of the purposes of the Oregon Lottery is to facilitate economic development.

The fund has committed $97.4 million to invest in Oregon companies since it was created.

As is the nature of investments, some but not all of the startups that have received money from the Oregon Growth Account have proved successful. The $5 million became available because of a recent distribution from a successful investment through Portland-based Endeavor Capital.

The State Treasurer has the statutory authority under ORS 348.707(4)(d) to declare returns from the Oregon Growth Account.

The returns announced Thursday mark the second such declaration in two years. Former Treasurer Westlund declared $18 million in returns in March 2009. The dollars, which represent returns from prior investments, could have otherwise been used to finance new investments.

Investments through the Oregon Growth Account have paid off in new jobs: The aggregate payroll produced by assisted companies equals $30.6 million a year, according to statistics presented to the Board on Thursday. Also notably, the capital provided to startups helped to attract additional investment dollars from other investors into the companies, and many of those investors are out-of-state.

Most of the money that’s directed by the Oregon Growth Account is legally committed for investments, and not available as cash.

In other business Thursday, Treasurer Wheeler recognized longtime committee member Stan Timmerman of Pendleton, who sat on the Oregon Growth Account Board for the final time. Timmerman has been a member a member of the OGA Board since 2000 and also was chairman of the Oregon Resource and Technology Development Corp. from 1989 to 2000.

“We appreciate your service to Oregon, your work, your collaboration and your friendship,” Wheeler said.

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