U.S. Senator Ron Wyden discusses Bend’s economic future
Sen. Wyden came to Bend on Friday, Feb. 19, to attend an economic roundtable hosted by Seven Peaks Ventures. “Bend is on the cusp of becoming a technological mecca,” said Sen. Wyden, who elaborated on that statement: “All the pieces are here for that to happen. There are tremendous assets here,” he said. We need to recognize that jobs come from the private sector, and government should set the climate for those jobs to develop.” He added, “There’s extraordinary quality of life here, which makes it attractive for talent to be here. As we grow we need to think about sustainability for that growth.”
Internet Tax Freedom Law is good for online businesses in Bend
Wyden’s Internet Tax Freedom Law will be good for Bend’s online businesses. “The President will probably sign it next week,” he said. “Businesses here are making a very significant play for online markets. Online business development is one way to compensate for big distances from major markets,” Wyden said. He explained that under his law, there would be no discrimination against online businesses where there was a concern they could be taxed at higher rates than off-line businesses. “This provides permanent tax-free status for Internet access and commerce,” he said.
Highly skilled labor will attract major tech firms
Bend’s challenge is to provide enough highly skilled labor to attract major tech firms. An effort has been organized in the last 18 months to bridge the vocational gap between higher education and industry here in Bend. Venture capitalist Bruce Cleveland formed BendPoly to train liberal arts majors and graduates for careers in high tech. He describes the 10-week courses as the “Ninth Semester.” BendPoly’s first class placed 60 percent of students.