AOI Leading Issues – C-Corps in Cross-hair, Retail Round-up, and ConnectOregon Advances

This update is provided as a service to Tigard Chamber members to keep them informed on legislation potentially impacting business.  Provision of this information does not construe support or opposition to a particular piece of legislation or issue.      Public Employee Unions File Six New Ballot Measures Targeting C-Corps for Higher Taxes  ConnectOregon – A Real Economic Development Bill  Retail – What’s Moving Out the Door and What’s Left on the Shelf             Public Employee Unions File Six New Ballot Measures Targeting C-Corps for Higher TaxesUnions are also in the cross-hairs with three initiative petitions. Right on the heels of the defeat of the $275 million tax package on the House Floor two weeks ago (which would have added $114 million in new taxes per biennium on C-Corps) Oregon’s public employee unions filed six new proposed ballot measures with the Secretary of State, all of which aim to increase taxes on Oregon’s C-corporations. Here are the proposed measures which add to the Measure 67 tax hikes on C-Corps: The “Large Corporations Should Pay Their Fair Share 1” proposal lifts the $100,000 corporate minimum tax cap and replaces it with a 2% gross receipts tax on all revenues above $100 million. It is projected to raise taxes by $1 billion. The “Large Corporations Should Pay Their Fair Share 2” proposal lifts the $100,000 corporate minimum tax cap and replaces it with a 1% gross receipts tax on all revenues above $100 million. This is projected to raise taxes by $500 million.  The “Invest in Oregon’s Future 1” proposal replaces the current corporate minimum tax on C-Corps with $10 million in sales with a gross receipts tax of 0.25%. This is projected to raise taxes by $1.189 billion. The “Invest in Oregon’s Future 2” proposal replaces the current corporate minimum tax on C-Corps with a graduated gross receipts tax of 0.25% for Oregon businesses with $10 million in sales to up to 1% for Oregon businesses with $100 million in sales. This is projected to raise taxes by over $2 billion. The “Fund Oregon’s Priorities” proposal increases the corporate tax rate on income above $10 million to 10%. This would raise taxes on business by $150 million. The “If Corporations are People, Let’s Tax Them Like It” proposal would implement personal income tax rates on C-Corp income, a tax increase of $370 million. None of these proposals have been assigned initiative petition numbers yet because they have yet to be assigned ballot titles and summaries from the Attorney General’s office. As such, none of these petitions have yet to be approved for circulation. But three ballot measures which have been filed – and have been assigned initiative petition numbers – would seek to stop the practice of forced membership and forced political involvement of public employee union members. Initiative Petition 1 is a statutory measure that prohibits public employee payroll deductions to unions if the money is used for political purposes. If it receives the required 87,000 signatures, this measure could appear on the November 2014 ballot. Initiative Petition 2 is a constitutional measure that prohibits public employee payroll deductions to unions if the money is used for political purposes. If it receives the required 116,000 signatures, this measure would appear on the November 2014 ballot. Initiative Petition 9 is a statutory measure that prohibits the compulsory payment of union dues by public employees who choose not to join a union. Otherwise known as a “right to work” law, it would apply only to public sector unions. If it receives the required 87,000 signatures, the measure could appear on the November 2014 ballot.       ConnectOregon – A Real Economic Development BillReauthorization of an economic development bill is looking positive. A bill to continue the ConnectOregon program is in the Ways and Means Committee awaiting action. Its outlook is encouraging. ConnectOregon provides grants and loans for non-highway transportation projects that promote economic development. Since 2005 the Legislature has authorized the issuance of lottery-backed revenue bonds at $100 million per biennium with the exception of 2011 – 2012 when the amount was cut to $40 million. Supporters are asking for a return to the $100 million funding level in the 2013 bill. While important to businesses throughout the state, it can be especially beneficial to businesses in rural areas or cities outside the major urban areas wishing to attract new jobs. Local government and businesses often lack sufficient capital and technical capacity (e.g., engineering, planning, labor and/or equipment) to undertake multimodal transportation projects. Financial assistance through the ConnectOregon program helps support these long-term economic growth and job creation projects. The projects are ultimately selected by the Oregon Transportation Commission after a series of advisory committee screenings that consider to what extent of the proposed project: Reduces transportation costs for businesses or improved access to jobs and labor; Provides an economic benefit to the state; Is a critical link connecting elements of Oregon’s transportation system that will measurably improve utilization and efficiency of the system; Provides funding not otherwise available from other sources or directly by the applicant;  Is ready for construction. Examples include: The City of Prineville’s rail link for area businesses that enables rail access to national and international markets with a link to Oregon’s Class I railroads; City of Ontario’s expansion of its municipal airport; Port of Astoria’s upgrade and expansion of Pier 2; Rouge Valley International-Medford’s Airport Express air cargo expansion project; Tidewater Terminal Company terminal upgrades in Umatilla allowing for more efficient transfers of goods, reducing truck loading times of materials from barges by 40%. The Ways and Means Committee will decide on the funding level for the 2013 – 2014 program, after which it must pass off the floor of both the Senate and House. AOI has historically supported ConnectOregon.       Retail – What’s Moving Out the Door and What’s Left on the Shelf Now that the first deadlines have passed and we are halfway through the 2013 Legislative Session, here’s the current Retail situation: Good Bills – Alive: HB 2454 – 911 Funding. Point-of-sale tax on prepaid cellular minutes to fund 9-1-1 system. HB 2714 – Diagnostic Tests. Allows pharmacies to perform certain diagnostic tests. (Passed) Bad Bills – Alive: HB 2826 – Debt Collection. Imposes new requirements under which debtor may bring legal action to collect debt. HB 3162 – Children’s Products. Requires OHA to post list of childrens’ products containing certain “high priority” chemicals online. Dead Bills: HB 2175 – Labeling. Would have made foods that contain or are produced using genetically engineered material subject to labeling requirements. HB 2278 – Studded Tires. Would have imposed fee on retail sale of studded tires and on installation of studs in tires. HB 2331 – Beverages. Would have imposed excise tax on sale of sugar-sweetened beverages and concentrates. HB 2397 – Studded Tires. Would have imposed fee on sale and installation of studded tires. HB 2398 – Self-Checkout. Would have prohibited sale of certain consumer goods by self-checkout device. HB 2532 – Labeling. Would have subjected foods that contain or are produced using genetically engineered material to labeling requirements. HB 2928 – Definition of Hazardous Substance. Would have modified definition of hazardous substance, required Oregon Health Authority to adopt new labeling standards for hazardous substances. HB 2938 – Battery Recycling. Would have required retailers and manufacturers to participate in Call2Recycle battery recycling program (or form their own program meeting impossibly high standards) or pay civil penalties. SB 113 – Checkout Bags. Would have prohibited use of single use checkout bags except in certain cases. To view the above bills, click here.    

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