Oregon Legislative Update 5-21-19

Week 17 – State Legislative Update

Activity on Major Issues

  • The $2.8 billion Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427) was signed into law by Governor Brown. Starting on January 1, 2020, all businesses doing business in Oregon will see:
     
    • A gross receipts tax rate of 0.57% on Oregon sales over $1 million;
    • A 35% deduction from taxable sales for labor OR business inputs, whichever is higher;
    • An exemption for groceries (defined as those that qualify for ‘SNAP’) and transportation fuel.
  • Cap-and-Trade (HB 2020). On Friday, HB 2020-A passed its first major milestone. After three hours of debate, the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction adopted the -94 amendments on a party line vote and sent the bill to the Joint Committee on Ways & Means for further deliberation. Democrats voted down all other amendments that were brought forward, although it was widely acknowledged that rural Oregon would suffer job loss and economic hardship under the bill.

    As currently written, if this bill were to pass in its current form, transportation costs will increase. Natural gas costs will increase. Propane costs will increase. Local food processors and manufacturers will face a real competitive disadvantage. Small businesses and households will see increases in transportation and energy costs.
    OSCC still believes there are still opportunities to change this bill in the Ways & Means Committee.  

What happened last week?

  • The state revenue forecast added $770 million to state coffers for the upcoming 2019-2021 biennium. Just from the last forecast in March, every metric grew by eye-popping numbers due to a historic influx of revenue over the tax season.

    In addition to the influx of $770 million into the upcoming budget cycle, the kicker almost doubled in size.  It’s now projected at $1.4 billion. Net reserve funds are now nearly $3.5 billion.

    But the real impact of the historic revenue forecast is that it will tamp down on talk of additional tax revenue for the remainder of the 2019 legislative session.
  • The legislature’s attempt at PERS reform was unveiled with Senate Bill 1049. SB 1049 contains the following provisions:
     
    • Tier 1 and Tier 2 members, who are public employees who entered the PERS system before 2004, would have 2.5% of their salaries diverted from their individual retirement accounts into paying off the system’s debt.
    • Workers hired 2004 or later (PERS Tier 3 and Tier 4), would face a lower diversion – 0.75% of their salaries.
    • Public employees earning less than $30,000 a year would be exempted.
       
    • A reduction in assumed interest rate for retirees who use the “money match” method of calculating their pension benefits.
    • Most significantly, legislators seem to have abandoned efforts to raid SAIF to cover PERS liability, which is a good development for Oregon employers. 

The future of SB 1049 is uncertain. Although it is only a modest cost-saving measure, the unions oppose it in force and it is unlikely that majority Democrats can carry the issue themselves.

  • Equal Pay Technical Fixes (SB 123-A). On Tuesday, the Oregon Senate passed SB 123 unanimously. The bill includes several important technical fixes to give employers clarity in implementing Oregon’s Equal Pay Act. Oregon’s law is the most comprehensive in the country, and it has been difficult for many employers – large, small, and seasonal – to implement. We anticipate rulemaking later this year to address several other issues identified by Sen. Kathleen Taylor and Sen. Tim Knopp.

Other key issues coming up this week.

  • Prevailing wages in enterprise zones (HB 2408). We are expecting the Senate Workforce Committee to take up HB 2408 this week. In its current form, the bill requires prevailing wages to be paid on private enterprise zone projects of $20 million or more. OSCC is actively opposing and lobbying the legislation.
  • Lawsuit Damages (HB 2014). We are expecting the Senate Judiciary Committee to vote on HB 2014 this week. HB 2014 would repeal Oregon’s legal limit of $500,000 on non-economic damages in personal injury and negligence lawsuit claims. OSCC, health care groups, and business organizations are opposing this legislation because it is a significant factor in driving up health care costs and general liability costs for employers.
  • Paid Family Leave is still under discussion. The last remaining bill alive looks something like this – Details of this are being worked out now.  More like the Washington state model.  Business has asked for it as long as it more clearly mirrors the Washington model. Current scenario.  – Employer employee split 40/60, 12 weeks for serious medical conditions, birth. Same qualifying factors for OFLA, business under 25 employees, exempt, but employees have to pay in those businesses.  Only those (businesses) who pay into system are available for training grants to cover those employees on leave.  Leave requirements apply to any employee down to 1 employee, even if exempt as under 25 employees.  Employer plans we need to meet or exceed these benefits to get a waiver.  More details as we get them.

There are fewer than 45-days before session adjourns, and NOW is the time to make your voice heard.

Start/Grow Your Business

Numerous resources exist to help you with growing your business in addition to your membership in the Tigard Chamber.  Here are just a few!  Many are also available in both English and Spanish. 


SCORE Portland – Non-profit dedicated to helping small businesses get off the ground. SCORE offers free one-on-one business mentoring, a business resource center, and free workshops and webinars.  SCORE in English,  SCORE En Espanol

10 Steps to Starting a Small Business Guide (City of Tigard) – English, Espanol

Small Business Administration Portland – The U.S. Small Business Administration has delivered millions of loans, loan guarantees, contracts, counseling sessions and other forms of assistance to small businesses. – SBA in English,  SBA En Espanol

Small Business Development Center – Oregon’s SBDCs deliver our services to anyone who owns or operates a business or is planning to start a business. We work with businesses in every industry and at every stage of growth, from startups to well-established companies, from one employee to 500. In addition to no-cost confidential advising, we offer training and online courses that cover a wide range of business topics. Portland Center (English)  Portland Center, SBDC Latino Outreach Program

More Resources for Starting and Growing Your Business – English,Recursos Para Empresas

Leadership Tigard Class of 2019 Hosts Chelsea’s Closet Fundraiser for Service Project

PRESS RELEASE

For Immediate Release
April 18, 2019

Lauren Scott
Leadership Tigard Class of 2019
503-718-2595
laurens@tigard-or.gov

Tigard, Ore. – Tigard Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership Tigard’s program goal is to inspire rising leaders to participate in the life of their community through education and experience in a broad range of activities.  This year’s Leadership Class, made up of local entrepreneurs, downtown business owners, government employees and residents, has chosen the Chelsea Hicks Foundation as their service project.

What: Chelsea’s Closet Fundraiser
Where: Beach Hut Deli (12436 SW Main St. Tigard, OR 97223)
When: 5-9pm
About: Serving up food and beverages with 20% of the proceeds from sales, and 100% of all backyard beers, raffle prizes and sponsorship dollars benefiting Chelsea’s Closet programs. The event will also feature raffle prizes (tickets for purchase) including a weekend trip to Palm Springs, bespoke eyewear designed by downtown business and Leadership Tigard participant EDA Frames (Frameabl), restaurant gift cards, and more. 

Tigard-based Chelsea’s Closet works to transform lives of children and families facing illness by including therapeutic dress-up and play with their hospital experience.

“After learning about the work Chelsea’s Closet was doing and hearing Allison’s story about her own daughter’s illness,” said Kris Barrett, Fairway Independent Mortgage Loan Officer and 2019 Leadership Tigard class member, “it became clear that this was a cause we wanted to support.”

After spending volunteer hours at the costume storage warehouse at Chelsea’s Closet, this year’s class decided to host a fundraiser in order to fund a needed computerized barcode inventory system. Making it easier for staff and volunteers to find specific costumes and accessories requested by hospitalized children.

“It was important to our Leadership Tigard Class that we not just volunteer for a day, but that we were able to make a lasting impact on this organization.” – Taylor Sarman, Chief of Staff for State Rep. Margaret Doherty and 2019 Leadership Tigard Class member. 

Tigard-based Chelsea’s Closet works to transform lives of children and families facing illness by including therapeutic dress-up and play with their hospital experience. They do this by offering children and their siblings the chance to select a costume and accessories from its mobile costume closet at OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital and Randall Children’s Hospital at Legacy Emanuel. Research shows that active therapeutic play can promote normal development and significantly reduce the psychological and physiological stress for children facing serious medical challenges.

“Because of my own daughter’s illness, I know first-hand the horrors of watching a child go through numerous rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery only to see it dampen their spirits and change their body,” says Alison Hicks, Chelsea’s Closet Co-Founder and CEO. “Remembering that they are children before they are patients, Chelsea’s Closet empowers them to be anything they want to be – transforming them with costumes, play, and imagination into the Superhero or Princess to combat their disease.”

The Leadership Tigard Class of 2019 hopes that others will come out and support this cause at their fundraiser on Friday, April 26th from 5-9pm at Beach Hut Deli.

About Leadership Tigard

Leadership Tigard is a program of the Tigard Chamber of Commerce and educates rising leaders on the issues impacting business and their community and on the resources in the community, allowing one to become part of solutions as a more informed and engaged citizen. When you invest in Leadership Tigard you invest in the community and our future.

Chelsea’s Closet

Media Contact: Alison Hicks                   alison@chelseahicksfoundation.org

503-941-5229                                     www.chelseahicksfoundation.org

$2B Oregon Business Tax Plan Released


We know there is widespread anticipation and concern regarding the new $2 billion business tax being promoted by legislative leadership.

Last evening, the detailed plan was finally made public.

https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Downloads/ProposedAmendment/15752

At a high level, it is a 0.49% gross receipts tax with a 25% deduction for either business inputs or labor costs, whichever is greater. The tax applies to all business entities with gross sales in excess of $1 million.

Although this is a new 25-page tax bill that undoubtedly has many complexities, our understanding is that legislative leadership intends for the process to move quickly. There may be limited opportunity for input or to amend the bill.

In another area of concern, we also believe that the Governor/Governor’s office will be presenting her PERS pension reform package today at the noon hearing for Ways & Means Capital Construction subcommittee. We have reason to believe that a raid on SAIF resources and reserves will be a part of that discussion, but the particulars are not clear. We also anticipate their will be other fund “sweeps” to help buy down escalating PERS rates, particularly for schools.

Please stay tuned to our blog, facebook and email for other business impacting legislative updates.

David Aldridge Named 2019 Tigard’s First Citizen

David Aldridge has been named as the 2019 recipient of the Tigard’s First Citizen award.   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. 

David Aldridge’s contributions to the Tigard community have covered a wide range of activities and organizations including the Good Neighbor Center, Tigard CERT, St. Anthony Severe Weather Shelter, the American Red Cross, Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility, the Pumper Car, church, and general community service. All of these areas of volunteerism have a common theme of helping those in greatest need.  He has selflessly given thousands of hours of service across our community.

This includes 20 years as a weekly overnight host at the Good Neighbor Center Family Homeless Shelter in Tigard, sleeping on a couch 1 night each week to ensure the safety and security of Good Neighbor Center families, and enabling the agency to run cost effectively.  In addition to his service in this aspect, David is currently serving and has been on the Board of Directors for the Good Neighbor Center for the last 6 years. 

Keeping his focus on the community of Tigard, David has been a member of the Tigard Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) for over 10 years, helping his community and neighbors be better prepared in the event of a serious natural or other local disaster. CERT is entirely volunteer run and is a program of the City of Tigard. 

David also serves as a volunteer staffer for Saint Anthony’s “severe weather shelter” for the homeless, often helping to stay overnight (and more) as a volunteer host. Though not a member of the Catholic Church himself, he believes in what St. Anthony’s is doing and has given countless hours over last 5 years in support of their work on many occasions.

Continuing in his spirit of giving and service, David is also personally a member of the “Ten+ Gallons Given Club” with the Red Cross where he’s donated over 12 gallons of blood/platelets.  This equates to over 96 pints of blood!

Although this next service takes place in our neighboring community of Tualatin, Oregon, David for many years has served at the Coffee Creek Women’s Correctional Facility on a weekly basis, overseeing an addiction recovery in-service program for the female inmates. Coffee Creek is the only Women’s Correctional facility in the state so it services all communities.  This is an unpaid community service position requiring him to be at the prison three times each week. He has been providing this service for several years now and is the only volunteer that shows up rain or shine, even in the snow, week-in-and-week-out and on holidays.

David also gives a great deal of church and general community service through JustServe.org and more, visiting the elderly in the area, assisting with addiction recovery programs and meetings, emergency preparedness, community education, and more. He has a greeter and supporter at the City of Tigard Community Preparedness Fair since the beginning.

David helped raise a significant amount of  funding to support a local Tigard company, Columbia Inland, manufacturer of The Pumper Car, an FDA approved medical physical therapy device enabling patients of all ages, but especially special needs children, who suffer from autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and many other maladies, to be able to exercise and improve their coordination and conditioning in some extraordinary ways.

Last but not least, David was awarded the Tigard Shining Stars “From the Heart” Volunteer of the Year award in 2013.

As you can see David  has engaged at a broad level across the Tigard community on behalf of the community.  It is obvious he cares deeply about the place that he lives and its vulnerable community members.  In all his roles he is always selflessly looking out for the betterment of the community at large.

Please join us in congratulating David on his award and thanking him for his service to our Tigard community.  His award will be formally presented with other Tigard volunteer and business awards at Tigard’s 2019 Shining Stars Community Awards Gala being held on Friday, May 3rd, from 5:30-9 p.m. at Embassy Suites – Washington Square, our event location host.  With a theme of travel, this elegant themed event includes a silent auction, dinner, dessert dash, awards and more. Tickets are $60 per person. Get ready to travel the world and join us to celebrate Tigard!

For further details about the Tigard Shining Stars Community Awards Gala, please contact the Tigard Chamber of Commerce at 503-639-1656 or at Jessica@tigardchamber.org, or go to our website at www.Tigardchamber.org.