Revenue is a Focus in State Capitol for the 2019 Session

Our OSCC lobbyists are at work analyzing the 1,500 bills that have been introduced to date in the state legislature.

Here’s a list of major revenue-related proposals that are drawing attention in Salem.

Gross receipts tax (GRT): Despite voters’ overwhelming rejection of Measure 97 in 2016, this concept remains a favorite of some influential legislators. Portland voters approved a citywide gross receipts tax on large businesses in November. The existence of a GRT in Portland will give proponents a toehold to push for a similar approach statewide. However, a GRT remains a particularly difficult tax for low-margin businesses, regardless of size.

Business activities tax: The Oregon Business Plan has floated a business activities tax (BAT) as an alternative to a GRT. The BAT, used in Washington, does not create the same concerns about pyramiding (being applied multiple times in the supply chain) as the GRT. However, it still would raise business costs and, depending on details of a specific proposal, could affect some businesses more than others.

Corporate tax rates: If neither of those ideas gathers support of 60 percent of both chambers, the Legislature could default to keeping the current tax structure and increasing the corporate tax rate. Meanwhile, the Governor’s budget proposes an increase in the corporate minimum tax.

Small-business taxes: Small businesses have been in the crosshairs of revenue hunters in the Legislature for the past two sessions. In 2017, the House voted to roll back portions of the small-business tax deal that were part of the 2013 “grand bargain,” but the bill failed in the Senate. In the 2018 short session, the Legislature disconnected from a portion of the new federal tax law that benefited small business. Senators Brian Boquist (R-Dallas) and Herman Baertschiger (R-Grants Pass) have sued, contending that legislation violates the state Constitution. Meanwhile, Governor Brown, who is named in the lawsuit, has proposed more rollbacks of small-business tax benefits – trimming a tax break that passed in the 2018 session with her support.

Other business taxes and fees: The long list of legislative concept drafts presented in the House Revenue Committee last week during Legislative Days includes an assortment of technical tax adjustments that would increase taxes paid by businesses. Also, some tax credits could be eliminated through the tax credit review process.

Kicker reform: The idea of ending or diverting the “kicker,” which returns money to individual taxpayers when revenues exceed state economists’ projections by more than 2 percent, has been kicked around for years. In 2012, Oregonians voted to designate the corporate kicker for education funding. Now, similar proposals to use the personal kicker for targeted uses such as PERS or education, have support. Kicker reform is one revenue option included in the latest version of the Oregon Business Plan, which was unveiled earlier this month.

Property taxes: The discussion about reforming Oregon’s property tax system has amplified in recent months. The goal would be to eliminate inequities that lead to landowners with similar properties paying differing rates. Even by revenue reform standards, this would be a complicated process, and, therefore, is less likely than some of the other revenue proposals. However, targeted bills aimed at businesses’ property taxes could gain traction. For example, one bill would limit the property tax exemption for nonprofit hospitals to the amount spent on charitable care, reduced by the sum of all amounts of compensation reported in excess of $1 million for any individual directors or employees.

Alcohol and tobacco taxes: Increasing tobacco taxes is a common revenue proposal, one that is included in the Governor’s budget. Although the Governor has backed off of talk of a higher beer and wine taxes, her budget does propose increasing alcohol costs another way – by increasing the markup on liquor at state stores by 5 percent.

Medicaid taxes: The Governor’s budget proposes a mix of taxes and fees to make up for a projected shortfall in Medicaid funding. The money would come from: increased hospital taxes, expanded taxation of health insurance plans, higher cigarette taxes and an assessment on businesses with a large share of employees who qualify for Medicaid.

Transportation taxes: The 2017 Legislature passed a transportation package, and taxes to pay for improvements are beginning to kick in. These include increases in gas taxes, higher registration and title fees, a 0.1 percent payroll tax, a bicycle excise tax, and in 2020 a new way of treating vehicle fees based on miles per gallon.

Carbon taxes: Representatives of the Governor’s office presented a carbon-price proposal to the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction during Legislative Days last week. The model being discussed is a cap-and-trade system. Dozens of decisions remain that will determine the cost of this program to businesses, but under any scenario there will be significant costs. The question, is which businesses and consumers will pay, and how much. If a cap-and-trade bill passes, higher fuel and energy costs are all but certain.

As you can see, raising revenue will be one of the dominant themes of the 2019 Session.

We will keep members apprised as the discussions roll out.

Now accepting 2019 Tigard Shining Stars Nominations

Tim Shining Stars

The 45th annual Tigard Shining Stars Community Awards Celebration recognizes and honors Tigard citizens who demonstrate excellence and community leadership in volunteerism, educational achievement and business. The fun, semi-formal dinner event and silent auction held at Embassy Suites Washington Square, celebrates our vibrant Tigard community and the individuals who make it so with awards, dinner and silent auction. 

Awards include the Jim Nicoli Youth Volunteer Award, John E. Cook Tigard’s First Citizen, a “From the Heart” Volunteerism Award (in honor of Jim Hartman), $3,000 in scholarships to deserving high school seniors, and Chamber awards for Chamber Business of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Ambassador of the year.  

This is the chance for Tigard residents to recognize, celebrate and say thank you to the people who work so hard all year long to enhance the community that we live and do business in and truly make Tigard “A Place to Call Home”. Nomination criteria and form download links are outlined below.

Tigard’s First Citizen –

Named in honor of John E. Cook, this award recognizes someone who has made in-depth, long-term volunteer contributions to the Tigard community over the years. The winner is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about making Tigard a nice place to live and work. This individual excels in any area of unpaid endeavor of education, social services, youth work, and community improvement of public services. This award is given in the spirit of all volunteers who remain unknown. The recipient joins the ranks of those previously honored in continually striving to improve the Tigard Area.

From the Heart –

This award honors a person who has dedicated their time and energy to a specific cause in the Tigard community.  Jim Hartman set the standard for this award by his example of giving from the heart to his community.  This person gives willingly, energetically and consistently.  This person might be well known or might be a “quiet” volunteer, unrecognized until now, but always gives “from the heart”!  This person may have worked on the same project for many years. 

Tigard Youth Volunteer Award – 

This award is given in honor of former Mayor, Jim Nicoli, who passed away in 2000.  His dedication to the youth of our community was a fitting way to honor his name and award a youth in our community who volunteers to make a difference.  Many young people in Tigard are active in volunteer efforts and it is our pleasure to acknowledge their contributions of dedication, energy and community spirit.  They are the future!  

Tigard’s Chamber Business of the Year –

This award recognizes a chamber business that has made in-depth contributions to the Tigard community through their business. The winner is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about continuing to make Tigard a destination of choice for local business. Nominee must be a chamber member in good standing.

Outstanding Chamber Volunteer 

This award honors a Chamber member who has volunteered many hours of time, talent and energy to the success and growth of the Tigard Chamber.  Bert Tousey and his example of Chamber volunteerism is commitment at its best.  This person is an example of an active member who has sustained their efforts on behalf of the Chamber over a long period of time.  By their efforts, they have made this organization more effective in serving the Tigard community. 

Ambassador of the Year

Being an Ambassador for the Tigard Area Chamber of Commerce is no small task!  The Ambassador of the Year Award should be presented to a volunteer who significantly affects a positive perception of the Chamber through active participation, an optimistic attitude and solid business practices.  The recipient is active, involved, interested, and enthusiastic about making the Tigard Chamber a great organization to be a part of!

Any individual or organization can make a nomination with the exception of Ambassador of the Year. All Nominations are due by March 1, 2019.   

Thank you for supporting the 

2019 Shining Stars Community Awards Gala 

May 3, 2019, 5:30-9 p.m. being held at 

Embassy Suites – Washington Square

with your nominations.  If you have questions or need assistance please contact us at 

Jessica@TigardChamber.org or call 503-639-1656. www.TigardChamber.org.

15 Tips for Becoming a Better Writer, Even If You Hate Writing

If you do a lot of your own marketing for your business, you need to be able to write. But before you start worrying about what that looks like, consider it’s a lot less formal than when your high school teacher talked to you about persuasive essays.

Today, it’s all about connections.

You don’t need a marketing degree to be a good copywriter nor do you need a degree in creative writing to be a good writer. You can learn the tricks of good, written content creation on your own. Here are 15 web writing tips to get you started.

Write Better for the Web

#1. Write Like You Speak

Ditch the fancy talk unless that’s what is required by your audience. Instead, write as if you were speaking to them. Good spelling and grammar are important but using five-seven sentences in each paragraph is not.

#2. Don’t Write Like You Read the Cliff Notes to an Executive MBA

Don’t use business school jargon in your writing. You know the words like circle back, bandwidth, zero-sum proposition? When in doubt check this list or re-read #1.

#3. Keep It Simple

Keep your sentences as simple and short as possible.

#4. Ditch What You Know About Essay Writing

What they teach you in school is business essay writing. It’s boring, overly complex, and repetitive. Today’s skimmer wants bullet points, conversations, and short paragraphs.

#5. Use Pull Quotes

If you have something really important to say, place it in your article’s body but also add it as a pull quote. A pull quote is often seen in a magazine where a line of text is set in a text box on its own. They are larger size and font than the body text and get lots of attention because they stand out.

#6. Add Value-based Headlines

Headlines break up the text and should be used at least every 350 words. When writing headlines, try to use keywords and a reason your audience should be interested. For instance:

“Use Google Ad Words for Greater Exposure.”

Another option is to use teasing headlines like:

“The One Thing You Need to Know About Ad Words But Don’t”

#7. Use Bullets

Bulleted lists are easy to skim, making your audience happy and giving them the information in a very efficient manner. The trick here is to make sure they are all the same type of phrasing. Don’t do this:

3 Things to Do In Town

  • Swim
  • Hike
  • Go Fishing

Just write “fish.” It fits in better.

Also, make sure you’re answering the question in the form it’s asked. For instance,

3 Things to Avoid This Summer

  • The Beach
  • Your in-laws
  • Don’t stand in lines

While you want to avoid lines for a more fun-filled break, you don’t want nouns (the beach and your in-laws) in a list that also features a command. If you’re creating a list make sure all the words or phrases are written the same way and answer the question in the same tone. If you’re using nouns, keep it flowing and don’t mix up the directives.

#8. Talk to Your Audience

You know how as a child you spoke differently to your teachers than when hanging around with your buddies? You likely still do it. How you speak to your friends varies greatly with how you converse with your boss. Understand who you’re writing for and use the way they speak and their interests to flavor your writing.

#9. Keep it Short or Long

The length of your writing depends on your audience and what they prefer. However, the current trend is opinion pieces are shorter, while informational articles are trending towards longer complete guides. But feel free to mix it up as long as you don’t see a big dip in your readership.

#10. Use Active Words

Without going back to English class, better writers write in active, not passive, voice. The easiest way to explain that is by saying active verbs paint a picture better than passive ones do. Example:

I fired him.

versus

I was wanting to fire him, so I did.

#11. Appeal to Their Interests or Concerns

Being a better writer often just means covering areas of interest to your ideal customer. When people are reading about something of interest that is helpful and valuable to them, they will think you are a better writer.

#12. Stop Writing About Yourself

If you’re writing for business, you probably want to talk about your business. But it’s more beneficial to you to provide solutions for your audience than to make it all about you. Just as in conversation, you want to engage the other side and not just talk about yourself.

#13. Say Things in an Interesting Way

Show your personality in your writing. If you tell jokes, use them in your articles and blog posts. If you make up your own words, continue to do the same. Reading your writing should help bring people closer to you; help them know you better. They should read your articles and “hear” you in them.

#14. Tell Stories

People connect with stories so share what’s going on in your life such as things you’ve learned or experienced. Tie your information into something personal.

#15. Use Images and Content

Okay, so this doesn’t make you a better writer per se, but it does make your writing more enjoyable. People love seeing images. You can use image quotes, images that convey meaning, or even GIFs that add humor to your text.

Also, whatever you write should always have a second life. Share a quote from the article on Facebook. Create an image quote out of a part of it. Update the statistics in it at some point in the future and publish an updated version. Stitch it together with several other articles and create an ebook. Build onto the article, going more in-depth, and create a free giveaway. Add a little of the content or a question from the article in your newsletter to pique interest.

When it comes to business writing, never stress about the grades you got in high school English class. Those have nothing to do with your ability to write for your business. Today’s business writing focuses on building connections not formal, persuasive arguments. Think about it as a written conversation you’re having with clients or customers. It’s an ideal way to help them out and assist them in getting to know you better.


Christina R. Green teaches small businesses, chambers, and associations how to connect through content. Her articles have appeared in the Midwest Society of Association Executives’ Magazine, NTEN.org, AssociationTech, and WritersWeekly. She is a regular blogger at Frankjkenny.com and the Event Manager Blog.  

20 Skills to Learn in 2019 to Improve Your Professional Life

The business landscape changes on a near daily basis and that drives almost a constant need for professional learning. Never before has it been more essential that you not only keep up with the details of your own job and industry but others as well. If you don’t, there’s a good chance your business will struggle.

If you want to stay on top of your industry and continue to attract new customers while retaining old there are a few key skills you should master this year.

Skills That Will Improve Your Professional Life and Your Business

#1. Basic Facebook skills.

You must know basic Facebook skills even if you have a marketing department supporting you. There are times where you may be at special events or other parts of your life that you want to share with your company following. If you have to run it through the marketing department and have them do it for you, you’ll lose critical time. It’s also possible that they won’t be with you and there’s no way to second-hand a live stream event.

The basic Facebook skills you should master in 2019 (if you haven’t already) are:

  • creating live stream videos
  • using pixels and Facebook advertising
  • posting to your page and to your company page
  • understanding insights

#2. Google analytics.

Again, even if you have a marketing department and a data analyst supporting you, it’s important that you understand the basics of the analytics on your site. If you don’t, you are at the whims and desires of the marketing department and you’ll need to rely on them for reporting. If you don’t understand what those reports are saying it’s difficult to make executive decisions.

#3. Creativity.

While it’s widely debated about whether this skill can be acquired or if you’re born with it, like anything else, you can become better at it even if it doesn’t come naturally. It’s essential to business growth and management these days.

#4. Market analysis.

If you’ve read the book Blue Ocean Strategy, you know about the importance of low-cost differentiation. Even if you have somebody else doing the research for you, you want to ensure you understand the market you currently serve and any potential market you might serve in the future. Be creative with thinking about new markets but research them thoroughly.

#5. Employee culture.

Your business will only be as successful as your least disgruntled employee. Said another way, an unhappy employee cannot provide good customer service. Learning the basics of good employee culture and boosting morale can help you be more effective as a business leader.

#6. Understanding social listening.

A critical part of social media is listening. You must understand that listening for the benefit of your company involves more than just what you sell and your company name. You may also want to include things people would search on to find you, problems you solve, and services you offer in the city you service.

#7. Website visitor experience.

Even if you have someone designing your website for you, that person likely doesn’t know your ideal customer the way you do. They may be thinking about design and not about your unique website visitors. You need to be the one to tell them what your customers are looking for and what’s most important to them. Together you can design a great visitor experience. Make sure this includes the mobile experience as well.

#8. Basic coding.

It’s important these days to know just a little bit of coding. While most website design is drag and drop, basic coding can help you fix minor problems that still crop up. If you have the skills, you likely can make changes on the fly on your timeline and not need to wait on someone else.

#9. Marketing automation software.

Marketing automation software allows you to stay top-of-mind with your customers and potential customers. By scheduling periodic communications, you can provide them with the needed resources and become known as a valuable partner in their success. Marketing automation software also allows you to be more efficient in your communication. You can schedule emails to send based on activity saving you lots of time.

#10. Blogging.

Many people are under the wrong impression that to be a blogger you must be a writer. It’s probably better that you aren’t because blogging is more about conversation. If you follow a typical business essay structure your audience will fall asleep. Develop your own style in blogging, one that appeals to your audience. There are few marketing activities that are better at helping your audience get to know you than blogging.

#11. The basics of SEO.

The basics of SEO are a moving target. You cannot read one article and master it. But you can read a definitive guide and understand the basics of SEO for this moment in time. In order to truly understand the basics of SEO, you will need to make learning about it an ongoing task as things are always changing. However, understanding the basics will help you reach your audience organically and keep the search engines focused on your content.

#12. Tax changes.

This is an area you likely have a professional handling for you. But it’s a good idea at the beginning of every year, or even the end of the previous year, to meet with your tax professional to understand the changes that may affect you this coming year. It can help you make buying decisions, hiring decisions, and freelance decisions among others. Planning your expenses can save you considerably on taxes. Since these things change year-to-year it’s important to understand what’s tax deductible and what isn’t before you spend the money.

#13. Video.

Now that we all walk around with cameras in our pockets, it’s easy to use these tools to build a following. Just as you need to learn the basics of social media and live streaming, it’s important to also know the finer points of video. Some of these things include basics of lighting, sound, the tools you’ll use, editing, and tagging as well as meta descriptions.

#14. Creating experiences.

Many people think that experiential marketing is for Fortune 500 companies. But that doesn’t have to be the case. There are simple experiences you can provide your customers. For instance, a spice company can host a cooking demonstration or better yet, a tasting opportunity. If you find the right experience for your audience, you may even be able to charge for it and create an additional source of revenue for your business.

#15. The basics behind increasing low-cost staff.

There are many business needs that can be filled through freelancers. if you do a good job in communicating with them and selecting them for their skills they can be an inexpensive way to get specialized services completed. The key here is to ensure you provide them with all the information they need including information about your market and your ideal customer. You will get exactly what you put into it. If you are vague, they will fill in the details. That will not always be to your advantage. There are many sites where you can bid out your project and peruse portfolios of services. These sites include Fiverr, Upwork, among others.

#16. Public speaking.

It’s essential that today’s business leaders embrace a public persona. If you are doing anything of note in your industry, at some point, you likely will be asked to speak about your experience. Learning the basics of good public speaking will ensure you’re ready when you get that call.

#17. Technology.

This is a broad term and can apply to almost anything from your smartphone to your laptop to any of the software you use. But the reason it’s included is that it’s no longer quaint among today’s business leaders to not understand the basic tools the world is using. If you refuse to at least learn the basics of common daily technology, you’ll end up like a once cutting-edge filmmaker who locked himself away from society only to reappear with an old-fashioned viewpoint. You’ll think you’re leading a cutting-edge movement in your business and you’ll really be behind the times.

#18. Networking.

Even with the advent of digital marketing, business still gets done through networking. It’s still who you know that matters. In fact, people want to buy from businesses they know, like, and trust. Networking both in person and online is essential to this. If you don’t feel comfortable networking, find a public speaking group, a chamber of commerce, or other networking organization that can help you feel more comfortable and master the basics.

#19. Appealing to what’s in it for them.

It doesn’t matter how well you know your product or service, if you are still selling features and not things that benefit your audience in a direct way, you’re leaving money on the table. Master speaking to your customers about what’s in it for them. All of your copy should be focused on your audience; what they need, what they want, how they see themselves, the problems you can solve for them, and what they will receive by doing business with you from their standpoint.

If you sell based on features, you are asking your audience to make that correlation of how the features can help them. That’s a big jump for someone who likely is only spending minutes getting to know you, if you’re lucky. On the other hand, if you tell them exactly how you can help, not only does it spell out the issue for them but it also makes them feel like you understand their needs.

#20. Learning from others.

When you’ve been in one business for a long time there’s the possibility of stagnation, especially if you’re an operation of one or employ people who have been with you from the beginning. In order to stay fresh, you should constantly look for new experiences in your professional and personal life and encourage your employees to do the same. This can take the shape of attending professional conferences, insisting everyone use all of their vacation, and / or being part of a mentor or mentee relationship. It’s amazing what other people can teach you about your business even if they’re not in your industry.

If you don’t have time to attend conferences and other networking opportunities, you must be a voracious reader or consumer of podcasts, audiobooks, or other online learning. Avoid stagnation by learning from others.

2019 is likely to bring a lot of new opportunities to your business. One of the best ways to capitalize on this is to ensure you’re always acquiring new skills and ways in which you look at your business.

What are we missing from this list? What do you plan on learning this year?

2019 Business Advocacy Agenda

The Tigard Chamber Board of Directors has approved the Tigard Chamber 2019 Business Advocacy Agenda. 

Focus areas for the 2019 Business Advocacy Agenda include:

  • Transportation
  • Workforce Housing
  • Behavioral Health Programs and Homelessness Prevention
  • Environment/Sustainability including Energy
  • Education
  • Economic Development
  • Employer Issues
  • Tax Issues/Reforms

You can access the 2019 Business Advocacy Agenda here