Category Archives: Political Action

Call for Survival – Live Events Business Grant Program Ask

tigard chamber logo blue

May 19, 2021

Joint Committee on Ways & Means

 Oregon State Capitol

900 Court Street NE Salem, OR 97301

Senator Johnson, Senator Steiner Hayward, Representative Rayfield and Committee  members,

On behalf of the Tigard Chamber of Commerce and our members through the south metro region, thank you for the opportunity to submit a letter of support for the Shuttered Events Business grant proposal.

Following the leadership of the Live Events Industry of Oregon (LEIO), we are fully supportive of their proposal to appropriate American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to create a grant program to aid struggling event businesses. While we are appreciative of the federal Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) program, a large segment of the industry was unable to take advantage of the program due to the requirement for a physical venue space.   We only found 1 member in our almost 300 member businesses that met the qualifications of that targeted program even though we have many members with venues or that are businesses that generate a significant portion of their business from live events.

We learned first-hand the far reaching impact of the pandemic on the Live Events Industry when LEIO participated as a sector panelist during our State of Business Forum in March 2021.  The economic devastation to this sector is unparalleled. They have been and continue to be the slowest sector to recover due to our restrictive limitations on gatherings and events.  The metro area has been particularly hard hit given our population density and risk classifications. As just one example, we have caterers that have seen a 90% reduction in business during the pandemic! 

The south metro region of which Tigard is a part, hosts numerous events and attractions for both community and visitors alike.  Examples include the Tigard Festival of Balloons, the Downtown Tigard Street Fair, local city Community Awards Galas or Galas/Events held by our non-profits or attractions like iFly.  Not only are the events this industry produces a vital part of what makes our community unique, but they provide significant downstream economic benefits from sub-contractors and vendors as well as the associated spending.

Thus we support the proposal offered by Representatives Nosse and Lively to create a one- time grant program that can benefit the entire event industry.

The proposal laid out by LEIO is well thought out and prepared to maximize the investment for all sectors of the event industry. In a snapshot it includes:

  • Well-defined eligible businesses, including General Events Industry Business Sectors such as Event Planning and Production, Audio-Visual, Lighting, and Staging Providers, Special Event Operators, and Amateur Sporting Event Operators among others. The list of eligible business would also include vertical market events such as concerts, sporting events, theatre, art and music events etc.
  • Focus on small business with a cap of 150 employees or less
  • Rolling application periods to support the hardest hit businesses, including priority access for entities with a 75% or larger drop in revenue from prior year; followed by 50% drop in revenue and so on.
  • Specific allowable uses for grant funding, such as payroll costs, rent or other commercial building expenses, utilities, ordinary operating costs, existing business asset loan payments, and PPE.

The proposal is for an allocation of one-time ARPA funds of $108M in order to provide the broad reaching support to these struggling small business and sole proprietors across our state. While this is a significant amount of funding, the one-time nature of a grant program is exactly what these federal funds are intended to accomplish.

We appreciate your consideration of this important request for our community, and understand that this request is just one among many you will receive.  Thank you for the opportunity to highlight this key need in our community and for this sector.

Best Regards,

Debi Mollahan CEO

Tigard Chamber of Commerce

Tigard-Tualatin School Board Candidate Endorsements Announced

April 20th, 2021 – For Immediate Release

Contact Information:

Debi Mollahan

 

Ethan Frelly

 

CEO

Board Chair

 

503-639-1656

(503) 502-3330

 

Debi@TigardChamber.org

Ethan@beltranproperties.com

 

(Tigard, Oregon) – The Candidate Endorsement Committee (CEC) of the Tigard Chamber of Commerce, has determined its list of endorsements for the upcoming Tigard-Tualatin School District (TTSD) School Board race coming up in the May 18th, 2021 election. The Committee consisting of local business owners, community leaders, and members of the Chamber Board of Directors came together to go through a non-partisan process to consider candidates for endorsement who align with the Chambers’ core values/mission, legislative agenda and who support workforce development/education that strengthens the business community and our employment base.

“This is an unprecedented time for those running for public office” said Debi Mollahan, CEO of the Tigard Chamber. “These decisions, while never easy, need to be made in order to move forward in the best direction for Tigard-Tualatin School District and our business community. We looked for candidates who understood the role of the school board in terms of both the staff and student community as well as the intersection with the business community as educators of our future employees”.

The Candidate Endorsement Committee for the Tigard Chamber of Commerce is proud to announce their unanimous endorsement of the following candidates for the 2021 General Election being held May 18th, 2021.

TTSD School Board Seat 3

Octavio
 

Octavio Gonzalez has been engaged with TTSD for at various levels including school committees and most recently as a member of the TTSD Budget Committee.  He has a passion for making sure the student voice/the customer informs what programs are needed within TTSD and that they are inclusive and meet the needs of all students.

 With his background in both banking and HOA Account Management, Octavio has first hand experience with how work experience and the trades can provide high quality employment for students who would not benefit from or select a 4 year college path.  The business community needs a wide variety of skills in their workforce and the trades is a growing, lucrative field. Not all students are college bound and need education and experiences to help them chart a meaningful path towards a career.

Octavio has a passion for ensuring programs within TTSD meet all students needs as well as creative ideas for how business and the district can collaborate to enhance student skills to increase employability including plugging into the work already being done between the district and Tigard and Tualatin Chambers under the #WorkReady umbrella.   We find Octavio not only to be a great fit to meet the districts’ goals, but also to amplify the role and benefit of business within the district.

TTSD School Board Seat 5 

marvin lynn

Marvin Lynn has been an educator for over 30 years, starting as an elementary school and then middle school teacher, moving into post-secondary education roles as both a professor and an administrator.  Because of this experience he has a deep understanding of curriculum, teaching, and educational policy and has successfully managed budgets. In addition he has served in a variety of other board and leadership positions.  His experience in both equity and diversity are also extensive.   All of these are important skills for the key responsibilities of a TTSD board member and to meet district goals. 

Marvin believes that all students regardless of background, skill set or interests need to have their educational needs met through the school district whether college bound or moving in a direction of career ready when exiting the district.  He sees that business can play a role in the opportunity for advanced learning and experience for students through business internships, career days/fairs and exposure to more technical training and career experiences.  We find Marvin extremely well qualified for this board seat.

“We greatly appreciate all of the candidates that took the time to go through our confidential in-depth questionnaire and took time out of their busy schedules for our in-person interviews” said Ethan Frelly,  Chair of the Chamber’s Board of Directors. The Committee and Chamber agree that voters need to do their due diligence and cast their votes in May.

 

About the Tigard Chamber of Commerce

Mission – Building & Connecting Businesses, Growing Leaders and Shaping Our Community

Vision – Business + Community = Prosperity, Vibrancy & Diversity

 

Oregon Targeted to receive $4.2B in Federal Stimulus – Impact to State Legislation

stimulus check 5948809 1280

In some good news, with the recent passing of the latest Federal stimulus package Oregon is slated to receive $4.2B.  $2.6B is targeted directly at the state, the remaining $1.6B will be share among cities and counties.

This is good news there are a lot of state legislative bills currently focused on revenue raising/tax increases and this funding will take the pressure off the need to do that. We would hope to see very few bills targeted at raising revenue.  Another thing likely to take the pressure off raising revenue/tax bills is that the latest economic forecast for this biennium shows the kicker tax being triggered.

On a positive note, SB 842 is written to make sure that federal stimulus payments are not taxable.

At the Federal level, America’s Recovery Act doesn’t tax unemployment benefits and there is a drive to connect to that and make sure federal unemployment is not taxed at the state level.  

State Legislative Bills we are tracking include:

Good bills still alive:

  • HB 2343Allows local government to suspend Enterprise Zone requirements
  • SB 330Tax credit for forgiven rents for landlords
  • SB 727May allow Oregon businesses to claim federal ‘State & Local Tax’ (SALT) deduction in excess of $10,000 federal limit
  • SB 780COVID liability protections for health care facilities and providers
  • SB 842Tax exemption for federal stimulus payment to Oregon taxpayers

Good bills dead:

  • HB 2638General COVID liability protections for employers
  • SB 531Right to compensation for businesses closed by Governor’s orders

Challenging bills still alive:

  • HB 2253, HB 2457Levies state tax on PPP loans
  • HB 2474Expansion of Oregon family leave law, applies to all small businesses
  • HB 2489 –  Re-classification of independent contractors as employees
  • HB 2814‘Indirect Source’ requirement for building projects
  • HB 3171Adds insurance in the Unlawful Trade Practices Act
  • HB 3305Prohibits diesel fuel
  • SB 137, HB 2839Disconnects businesses from Federal CARES Act tax benefits
  • SB 139Eliminates Oregon’s ‘Small Business Tax Cut’ law
  • SB 483Retaliation presumption for employment actions taken within 60 days of whistleblower complaint
  • SB 716Requires employer to accommodate employee day care schedule
  • SB 801, SB 802Workers’ comp COVID presumption

 Challenging bills dead:

  • HB 2205Private Attorney General Act (PAGA), authorize private lawsuits for alleged violations of law and rules enforced by agencies
  • HB 2974Prohibits conditioning employment on refraining from drug use
  • SB 477Lower burden of proof for unlawful discrimination claims
  • SB 650“Fair Share” tax on employers that do not provide health insurance benefits

These bills represent the “playing field” for the business community for the next three weeks.

The next major deadline for bills is April 13th.  As such, these next three weeks are sure to be chaotic as committees further refine the list of policies that will be moving forward this session.

If you have interest or concern about these or other bills, please email Debi Mollahan, CEO, Tigard Chamber at Debi@tigardchamber.org

Federal

The American Rescue Plan, the recently federal stimulus signed into law among other things contains two big programs targeted at specific sectors– The Shuttered Venue Operator Grant (SVOG) and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund

SBA will administer both programs.  Applications are expected to open for the shuttered venue program on April 8th and hopefully soon for the Restaurant Revitalization fund as well.

OSCC Announces “Main Street Matters” Class Action Lawsuit

Main Street Matters Class Action Lawsuit

Last Thursday, the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) announced a “Main Street Matters” Class Action Lawsuit

OSCC has arrived at the conclusion that their only opportunity to find redress in this state for our small businesses who have been forced to close will be to have their day in court.

In a demand letter sent in September to the Governor’s office, lawyers for the lawsuit outlined the basis for requesting compensation from the state for impacted business and outlined business classes included in the suit.  These include:

Amusement Parks 
Aquariums
Arcades
Art galleries
Barber shops and hair salons
Bowling alleys
Cosmetic stores
Dance studios
Esthetician practices
Fraternal organization facilities
Furniture stores
Gyms and fitness studios
Hookah Bars
Indoor and Outdoor Malls
Indoor party places
Jewelry shops and boutiques
Medical spas
Facial spas
Day spas
Non-Medical massage therapy
Museums
Nail and tanning salons
Non-tribal card rooms
Skating rinks
Senior activity centers
Ski resorts
Social and private clubs
Tattoo/piercing parlors
Tennis clubs
Theaters
Yoga studios
Youth clubs

These business types are automatically enrolled in this class action.

Please read the Notice of Class Action letter carefully.   

OSCC is not challenging the Governor’s authority to use emergency powers. Rather, they are seeking enforcement of the law that requires compensation for the use of those emergency powers when they involve the taking of “real or personal property.” (ORS 401.192(3))

This lawsuit is in its infancy. OSCC seeks momentum and support from local business communities across Oregon.

Please visit the OSCC webpage to learn more about Main Street Matters.

Urgent Ask – Make Small Business Whole Again from COVID-19- Pass Needed Funding & Protections

Legislative funding ask
Legislative funding ask

The Senate and House of Representatives

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senators Wyden and Merkley and Representative Suzanne Bonamici:

At a time when many small businesses are still struggling to regroup from measures taken during the COVID-19 shutdowns and restrictions, several provisions of the CARES Act are coming to an end with no additional funding in sight.

The Tigard Chamber of Commerce is a member of the Save Small Business Coalition and we are supporting their fight to keep small businesses alive. We ask that Congress: 

Provide Business Liability Protection:

  • Protect business owners who follow applicable federal, state, or local government guidelines from COVID-19 related exposure liability.
  • Protect businesses from liability claims arising from COVID-19 medical care for healthcare workers and facilities.

Include Workforce Development:

  • Provide $1.3 billion to assist job seekers in accessing employment, education, training, and support services through a combination of new and existing programs.

 Assist with State and Local Aid:

  • Assist state and local governments experiencing one-time COVID-related expenses and revenue shortfalls based on a fixed share of actual costs and revenue shortfalls within an overall funding cap.

Extend and Enhance the Paycheck Protection Program:

  • Broaden the definition of forgivable expenses to include costs associated with protecting employees and customers and expand the period during which expenses qualify for loan forgiveness.
  • Simplify good-faith certification for the forgiveness of loans under $150,000.
  • Expand eligible borrowers to include all non-profits, including 501(c)(6) organizations with no more than 300 employees, as long as PPP funds are not used for lobbying.
  • Authorize a second round of loans for small businesses experiencing revenue reductions of 35% or higher.

The Tigard Chamber and our business community is counting on you to make small businesses whole again.

Sincerely,

Debi Mollahan

CEO, Tigard Chamber