Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Is Deferred Maintenance Spending a Good Idea?

Our Governor has proposed to President-Elect Obama that the federal government give us some dough to spend on deferred maintenance at our state universities.  Is this a good idea?

Well, if it means that outside construction contractors that are otherwise out of work would be employed to do a lot of it then it seems like a pretty good idea to me. Especially because right now with labor and machines being idle, we should be able to do the work at a pretty good price. If it is true that there is no advance planning that needs to be done ad that work could start tomorrow, then again, it seems like a god idea.  If it helps with the education of the state's college students, then its even better (it is not clear to me how much, but if science labs and such are a part of this then I can see some benefit). I am happy to volunteer my office to be the starting place.  

However, if the money is just transfered to universities who will use their already employed staff and divert other monies elsewhere, it is probably a bad idea.  Why, because then the multiplier effect of this spending will be severely muted and universities might benefit but not so much the Oregon economy.

Even better, I would like to see a discussion of the entire range of possible projects - university deferred maintenance, roads and bridges, scholarships, etc. -  the positive impacts of the projects themselves and the expected multiplier effect of the spending.  Let's make sure that if we spend money, we do it wisely.

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