Tobias Read

State Treasurer

Statewide, OR

Treasurer Tobias Read understands that financial empowerment, wise investments, and sound management are foundational to the quality of life and economic opportunities for Oregonians, and key for the long-term vitality of our state. In 2015, he was a chief sponsor of the Oregon Retirement Savings Plan, which is the first operating state-sponsored retirement program. it launched in mid-2017.

Prior to his election as Oregon’s 29th State Treasurer, Tobias had served for a decade in the Oregon House of Representatives, where he championed legislation to invest in public education, improve state financial management, finance critical infrastructure improvements, and to help Oregonians save for a more secure future. He has also worked in the U.S. Treasury and as a liaison between designers, engineers and manufacturing units for Nike Inc.

Pro-Growth Progressive Ideas Shared

Problem

Rising costs of higher education including tuition, administrative fees, and textbook costs are hindering students from accessing the materials and resources they need to excel in college. 

Solution

Representative Tobias Read helped lead the passage of legislation in Oregon to expand Open Educational Resources (OER), open source textbooks and class materials. OER materials reduce higher education costs by making content shareable, flexible, interactive, customizable and portable. The bill will help schools make use of existing OER resources and provide funds for the creation of new materials to make textbooks more relevant and effective for students. 


Problem

As a state and a society, there are numerous challenges we face. Government can’t solve all these problems, and could be immensely helped by attracting the attention and efforts of talented people willing to work at tackling society's toughest challenges.

Solution

Oregon State Representative Tobias Read is proposing to harness the talent of innovators everywhere by offering prize(s) to individuals and teams who solve large identified challenges. Like the U.K.’s Longitude Prize or the private sector’s X Prize, Rep. Read believes that state government can convene expertise from academia, business, non profits and more to identify our biggest challenges, develop quantifiable measures on which to evaluate potential solutions, and award prizes to those solutions that best solve the identified problems.


Problem

Many workers lack short-term savings. According to the Pew Charitable Trusts, 60 percent of Americans experienced an unanticipated pay cut, trip to the hospital, spousal separation, major car or home repair, or other large expense in the past 12 months; and 44 percent of Americans said they could not come up with $400 to cover an emergency expense without borrowing or selling something. This short-term financial instability is a root cause for retirement account loans or leakage, and is putting Oregonians’ long-term financial health at risk.

Solution

My earlier work to establish OregonSaves created the first state-level automatic enrollment retirement plan, which is helping workers save for the long-term. To augment this capacity and help workers fund short-term emergencies, I'm proposing adding a short-term emergency savings “sidecar” account, funded with a participating worker's first $1,000 in contributions. Additional contributions greater than $1,000 would be automatically diverted into the target date fund default investment. Should the worker access the short-term sidecar account, new contributions would automatically replenish short-term savings before diverting to the long-term investment vehicle. This dual account method would allow workers to seamlessly meet both short- and long-term financial goals and reduce the pressure on Oregonians dealing with emergency expenses.


Problem

The West Coast states face a $1 trillion infrastructure financing gap over the next 30 years. The Great Recession and slow economic recovery have strained the tax revenues of state and local governments, widening the already well-documented infrastructure investment gap.

Solution

The West Coast Infrastructure Exchange (WCX) was created by Oregon, Washington, California, and British Columbia to help redesign the way they plan, build, and finance public infrastructure. WCX works to attract private investment in public projects, share best practices, bundle smaller projects and incorporate climate resilience. This multi-state collaboration will help find innovative ways to fund necessary projects that may not otherwise get completed by relying only on traditional public funding. Through these infrastructure projects, the WCX aims to promote job creation and improve the region’s long-term economic competitiveness over time.