By Tim Knopp / Executive Director, Central Oregon Builders Association 0 Email LinkedIn New Home Building on the Rise. Positive Trend in Diversifying Local Economy E-Headlines Twitter on February 12, 2013 Tumblr Google+ Pinterest In 2013 Central Oregon can expect slow growth and an increase in new home permits. New home building is on the rise but it hasn’t resulted in significant new hiring yet. Housing prices are also on their way up which is another positive sign.Central Oregon still needs the California economy and housing markets to rebound and that has been as slow as molasses in winter. We continue to diversify our economy which is a positive trend with healthcare, high tech/software and tourism all headed in a positive direction. I’m generally optimistic at the local level but it can always be better so here are a few things at the state and federal level that would increase our opportunity for economic growth.At the state level the legislature could be helpful by providing capital funding for the OSU four-year stand alone university. Central Oregon is the only region in the country of its size without a four-year university so this is a fairness issue as well. And as long as we’re talking education PERS reform must happen to give us a chance to invest and fully fund education. Additionally, regional land use decided at the local level would also help our local economy. Who knows better than our city councils and planning commissions what will work best? I trust our local decision makers and if they aren’t reflecting local sentiment you can vote them out. You don’t get that kind of direct input with a state agency. Lowering taxes and regulation on small business would also give a shot in the arm to our economy. Passing bills that begin to use our natural resources wisely would be an economic assist to all of Oregon.The caution I see having the potential for a negative impact to our local economy remains at the federal level with Congress and the Obama administration. Nearly $16 trillion in national budget debt with no end in sight is extremely dangerous and is the most important national issue that must be resolved this year. Putting it off jeopardizes the slow growth we’ve been having and could lead to another major downturn.Add to that all the new healthcare regulations and taxes associated with Obamacare. If nothing is done to create a fairly short path to a sustainable balanced budget that provides relief for our job creators, all that local positive news disappears quickly. So I’d encourage you to let your state and federal elected officials how important it is to be successful on solving these issues before it causes another major economic downturn worst than the last one. Here’s to bi-partisan success that leads to more jobs and opportunity for all our citizens.Tim Knopp is the executive direction of Central Oregon Builders Association and the newly elected state representative from Bend. [email protected] Facebook Share.