STATE GOVERNMENT & POLITICS
A bill summary released Wednesday outlines changes to the proposal that address some of those concerns. “We have two competing needs: We want to reduce emissions, but we don’t want to put businesses out of business so their progress is light in the early years,” Dembrow said. “Heavy emitters that are at risk of competition from other states or countries that don’t have high standards they are going to be given allowances in early years to help them transition into the program. We want to keep it predictable and not have rate shocks.” The bill is scheduled to be drafted by Jan. 8 and released to the public that same week. Some of the highlights of the changes are:
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Lawmakers envision a 21-member board made up of citizens from a wide range of backgrounds. The proposal specifies it should include someone with an expertise in climate science, tribal representatives, and business people, among others. This committee would advise a newly created Joint Legislative Committee on Climate.
The revenue generated from the program was at one time estimated to be $1.4 billion every two-year budget cycle. The latest proposal doesn’t give a specific number, but includes more insight into how the money would be spent. The first 15 percent would be dedicated to a transition fund, which would help industries affected by the new regulations.
Indeed, donating to charities and itemizing the deductions on tax returns is a century-old tradition in the United States. But with Congress this week approving the Republican tax overhaul package, the changes it could usher in worry Potter and others who fear nonprofit organizations and charities could be among the bill’s biggest losers. That’s because under the GOP bill, far fewer people are likely to itemize deductions. Those people, thus, would lack a tax incentive to give.
Starting Jan. 1, consumers can expect to pay an extra 10 cents upfront whenever they glug down Gatorade, sip from glass bottles of Starbucks coffee or kibitz over kombucha. The mandate affects most containers of sealed glass, plastic or metal — including coffee, tea, kombucha, energy and sports drinks, hard cider, juice and protein drinks — reports the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. “It’s the kind of beverage that’s inside the container that’s changing,” explained OLCC Spokeswoman Christie Scott.
Oregon Public Broadcasting
Oregon continues to have a strong prospect of gaining a sixth congressional seat after the 2020 Census, according to new population estimates released Wednesday. Oregon came close to picking up another seat after the last Census in 2010. Since then, strong population growth has solidified Oregon’s chances. The new estimates show that in the last year, it was the 10th-fastest growing state in the country.
While a shut-down had been threatened, the nonprofit’s CEO Jeff Heatherington says he held out hope until he met with Gov. Kate Brown in a conference room in the Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. But Brown and other state officials seemed intransigent. “They basically said either you sign this contract, or you go to hell,” Heatherington said. “I have never been more disappointed in government in my life.”
The state must now transfer more than 100,000 children and adults in the Portland area who are currently served by FamilyCare to other Medicaid administrators. Earlier Wednesday, the Oregon Health Authority gave the company just over 24 hours to decide whether to accept the state’s 2018 contract proposal.
The Lund Report
With the federal government in retreat, a new task force of insurers, healthcare providers and single-payer activists will debate ways Oregon can take the lead toward universal healthcare and a more equitable system of providing quality care to all Oregonians, regardless of income or employment status.
“If you are not vaccinated against this disease and you are a student on that campus, you are at risk for meningococcal infection,” said Dr. Paul Cieslak, medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Oregon Health Authority Public Health Division. “We do feel that now, because there is a break between classes, that this is the best time for students to get vaccinated.”
Multnomah County needs to increase jail staffing and workplace diversity, curtail its reliance on deputy overtime and stop reducing the number of inmate beds, according to the annual citizens review of the county’s correctional facilities.
Retail dispensaries in Bend and La Pine passed the first-ever marijuana minor-decoy operation by the Oregon Liquor Control Commission. OLCC inspectors on Tuesday checked 20 retail dispensaries in the two cities, according to an OLCC news release Wednesday. Inspectors check that retailers are complying with state laws that prohibit minors from entering the stores by attempting to send a minor volunteer inside.
Greg Walden, represents Oregon’s 2nd Congressional District.
These tax reforms are boosting confidence in our economy. Last month, the National Federation of Independent Business confidence index hit an all-time high. Meanwhile, in the fourth quarter, optimism among manufacturers also reached a new high. While the stock market will ebb and flow, a 5,000-point gain in the last year is both historic and welcome news to those with savings and retirement accounts, especially after the last eight years of slow growth.
Many factors affect the strength of the economy, including an available and trained workforce, international incidents and more. Congress and the president need to focus on rebuilding America’s infrastructure next.
Their collaborative success might provide a guide for handling revenue and budget reform, which is why the summit’s organizers asked them to speak. Yet the lawmakers warned that financial reform would be far more complicated, difficult and potentially divisive than the state’s transportation package, far-reaching as it was. In contrast, the 2018 Legislature is only weeks away and Oregonians know little about the governor’s and legislative leaders’ plans for genuine tax and spending reforms. We are not filled with hope.
Meanwhile, parents and others who believe a high school diploma is critical in this era of declining skilled labor jobs can help; parents that can do everything they can to assure their own children finish high school. They, and non- parents, can show up at school board meetings in Bend, Redmond — around the state — and demand results, not once, but over and over again. School boards will listen if parents show up, but they must show up. Education reforms come and go. Unless parents get involved, get vocal and stay that way, the system won’t improve.
The impact of the biggest overhaul of the U.S. tax code in three decades will spread far and wide starting next year, highlighted by a cut in the corporate rate to 21 percent from 35 percent, fully allowable deductions for capital expenses and lower levies on repatriating overseas profits.
Here’s how the law will most likely affect various industries: