Saturday, January 24, 2009

Rep Gelser Changes Her Mind

I’m glad Rep Gelser changed her mind about “not blaming” to a call for accountability...

January 23, 2009
Contact: Michael Cox 503-986-1904

House Education Committee Hears Testimony on
College Savings Plan Losses
Chair Sara Gelser called oversight hearing to get answers from key players

Salem – Representative Sara Gelser (D-Corvallis), Chair of the House Education Committee, held an oversight hearing Friday to investigate the substantial losses in the Oregon 529 College Savings Plan.

Former Treasurer Randall Edwards, Treasurer Ben Westlund, Attorney General John Kroger, and representatives from the Oppenheimer Fund were called to testify. The Committee also heard testimony from several parents and grandparents who suffered losses in their college savings accounts.

“Oregon families save for college so they can help their kids build a strong future.” said Gelser. “When they face overwhelming losses in a state sponsored savings plan, it is critical that the Legislature bring the parties to the table, ask the tough questions about why it happened, and figure out how to protect families in the future. That’s what we did today.”

The day before testifying before the committee, State Treasurer Ben Westlund announced that the state will withdraw all assets from two funds, including the Oppenheimer Fund, and also advanced other changes to the program.

The Oregon College Savings Plan saw losses of nearly twenty-five percent in 2008. The Oppenheimer Fund, which was labeled as a “conservative” portfolio, saw the greatest decrease in value.

“It is important that all branches of government work together when issues like this arise,” said House Speaker Dave Hunt. “Through the efforts of Rep. Gelser’s committee, and the work of Treasurer Westlund and Attorney General John Kroger, we are working to ensure this never happens again to parents who invest in a state backed plan.”


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