REP. JULIE PARRISH CALLS ON GOVERNOR BROWN TO VETO SB 1528

Parrish says small businesses already face burden of minimum wage increase, new payroll tax on July 1st

 

WEST LINN, OR – Representative Julie Parrish (R-Tualatin/West Linn) today sent a formal request to Governor Kate Brown to veto Senate Bill 1528, the measure that disconnects Oregon from the federal tax code and creates a new, niche tax credit scheme that will likely be accessed by Oregon’s ultra-wealthy tax filers.  Parrish’s veto request raises concerns that the average small business can’t keep up with tax increase demands and legislative mandates.

 

“On July 1st, Oregon small businesses will be faced with another bump in the minimum wage, and a new payroll tax increase stemming from the 2017 transportation package.  These new costs arrive on top of the healthcare premium tax passed by the legislature,” Parrish stated.  “Disconnecting from the federal tax code creates additional accounting burdens and robs small businesses of needed cash flow to pay their bills and hire their neighbors.”

 

A specific concern Parrish relays to Brown is the impact on 192,000 Schedule-C tax filers whose average income is just $23,300.  “Senate Bill 1528 creates a tax scheme loophole for wealthy Oregonians on the backs of these filers, a majority for whom this income is in lieu of W-2 income they’d earn if they were employed for someone else’s company.  Unlike W-2 income earners however, these tax filers bear the full burden for self-employment taxes, FICA, SSI, and Medicare – a total state and local tax burden of 30.5% of their total business income if we don’t connect to the federal tax code, and 3.5% higher than the effective tax rate of Oregon’s largest corporations.”

 

In total, there are over 400,000 tax filers who will be negatively impacted by the state’s failure to connect, creating an additional headache for some filers who will be forced to keep two sets of business records to maintain tax compliance.

 

“There’s nearly $100 million in new spending from the short session sitting on the Governor’s desk, not to mention millions in new bonded debt.  This disconnect bill highlights the real disconnect happening in Salem – that Oregon’s small businesses are bearing the burden of increased government spending and a failure to address systemic cost reforms around PERS and healthcare expenditures,” Parrish said.

 

Parrish went on to remind Brown that she approved $100 million in new raises for public employees, whose average compensation increased by $2,000 per employee, while connecting to the federal tax code would yield small business owners a nominal $359 average pay increase.  “Between new taxes, fees, and mandates, Oregon small businesses owners are seeing their take home income stagnant.  Connecting to the federal tax code will provide a small pay raise to the hundreds of thousands of family, local, and small business owners who continue to have their costs increased by legislative mandates.”

 

In accordance with state law, Governor Brown has 30 business days from which to decide whether to approve or veto legislation upon adjournment of the legislature.  Parrish hopes the governor will consider the livelihoods of 400,000 small business owners and job creators and weigh her decision to veto against looming tax and cost increases that will hit business owners in July.

 

“You can’t campaign on supporting Oregon small business while simultaneously pummeling business owners with taxes, fees, and mandates.  Enough is enough – I hope she’ll look at this bill in the entire context of all the burdens she’s already signed into law since she’s began serving as governor.”

 

###

Daily Clips

Destined to fail: Oregon officials missed taxpayer-backed mill project’s red flags

The Oregonian

When state and federal officials approved $8 million in taxpayer financing for a Southern Oregon sawmill project, they did so on the premise the investment would bring back jobs. But officials greenlighted the project despite warning signs the plan to retool the mothballed mill was likely doomed to fail. Sure enough, even with the expensive taxpayer-provided upgrades, the reopened Rough & Ready mill operated for less than 20 months before shutting down for good. Its equipment has been auctioned off, the land sold and the promised jobs only briefly delivered. The failed project was overseen by Portland environmental nonprofit Ecotrust.

 

ELECTIONS

 

Boshart Davis makes run for state House seat

Capital Press

She added that while she has never run for office, she is no stranger to campaigns, having been involved in campaigns to defeat Measure 92, the GMO-labeling measure that voters rejected in 2014, and Measure 97, the gross-receipts tax measure that voters rejected in 2016. Davis also is no stranger to the Capitol. “I have probably testified on anywhere from 20 to 25 different issues over the past few years, from diesel to emissions to labor, manufacturing, pesticides — all of these multiple issues that have hit us (in agriculture) over the past few years. And I am very involved in the Oregon Seed Council, Oregon Aglink, Oregon Women for Agriculture and Farm Bureau.”

 

Atkinson, Schreffler file for Esquivel’s seat

Mail Tribune

The race for the Oregon House seat now held by Sal Esquivel has heated up, with Democrats Michelle Blum Atkinson and Rick Schreffler becoming candidates Tuesday, the last day of the filing deadline. Schreffler, who was on the Rogue Valley Transportation District board from 2007-2011, will vie with Atkinson, who ran unsuccessfully for Medford City Council in 2016, in the May primary. The victor will likely take on Kim Wallan, a Medford city councilor who is the only Republican to register, and Al Densmore, former Medford mayor and legislator, who is running as an independent.

 

PUBLIC RECORDS

 

Q&A: Oregon’s new public records advocate talks transparency

The Oregonian

Oregonians have the right to know what their government is up to, but public agencies’ notions of transparency don’t always match those of citizens or the media. That’s why the Oregon Legislature created the role of public records advocate. The idea is that the advocate will mediate disputes between those who want records and the state agencies who have them. Gov. Kate Brown picked Ginger McCall for the job. As an attorney, McCall has represented records requesters as well as government agencies.

 

HEALTH CARE

 

Oregon Recovers $3.4 Million From Insurance Companies In 2017

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The state recovered about $3.4 million in unpaid insurance money for Oregonians last year. The Oregon Division of Financial Regulation says it investigated more than 4,000 insurance complaints last year. They came from people who said their claims were underpaid or who disputed the settlement their insurance offered. Claim denials and delays topped the list of reasons people filed complaints with the state.

 

In Oregon, pushing to give patients with degenerative diseases the right to die

The Washington Post

Rep. Mitch Greenlick (D), chair of Oregon’s House Committee on Health Care, began looking into expanding the state’s Death with Dignity law a few years ago, when a well-known 78-year-old lobbyist in Salem, Ore., fatally shot himself in the head after learning that he had Alzheimer’s. “That really shook me up,” said Greenlick, a retired director of the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research. “I started thinking, people with Alzheimer’s should be able to have some control over how they die, rather than having to shoot themselves.” His 2015 attempt to expand the terminally ill window from six months to a year failed. Next year he plans to float another bill that would open up the state’s Death with Dignity law to dementia patients by doing away with all stipulations about terminal time limits.

 

EDUCATION

 

Smith is vice co-chair of student success panel

MyColumbiaBasin

State Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner) is serving as co-vice chairman of a panel of senators and representatives put together to explore ways the Oregon Legislature can work to ensure all students have an equal chance at succeeding. The panel basically revamps the education committees in the Legislature. Smith is the only committee member from Eastern Oregon. Its members include seven senators and seven representatives. Six of the members are Republicans.

 

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Klamath Tribal Chief: Natural Gas Pipeline to Coos Bay Would Create the “Next Standing Rock”

Willamette Week

“As far as the Klamath people are concerned, this pipeline is a bad idea even if the price of gas were predicted to skyrocket,” Gentry writes. “The Klamath people oppose this project because it puts at risk their watersheds, forests, bays, culture, spiritual places, homes, climate and future.” The Jordan Cove project appeared dead under the Obama administration but President Donald J. Trump is much friendlier to fossil fuel projects.

 

Gov. Brown likely to sign drought declaration for Klamath County this week

Herald and News

Klamath County Commissioner Donnie Boyd and Scott White, executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association, met in Salem recently with Gov. Kate Brown about drought conditions, where Brown committed to Boyd and White that she would sign a declaration of drought for Klamath County sometime this coming week.

 

Walden ‘optimistic’ on emergency funds, talks to solve water crisis

Herald and News

As the Bureau of Reclamation meeting ended just miles away, Rep. Greg Walden, R-Ore., spoke to several farmers and local leaders about his own thoughts on the continued Klamath Basin water crisis. At least a dozen farmers, city and county officials stopped into the Klamath County Chamber of Commerce offices to hear Walden address this year’s water crisis, which continues to interfere with the day-to-day operations of ranchers, irrigators and Klamath Tribe members.

 

JEFF KRUSE

 

Jeff Kruse interview: Not the ending he had in mind

Roseburg News-Review

Kruse resigned from the Legislature this month after 22 years in office. It was two years earlier than he planned, and he was under fire for allegations he had inappropriately touched women he worked with in Salem. He continues to deny that he did anything wrong. And he hopes the controversy isn’t what he’s remembered for.

 

Ousted Oregon State Senator Calls Sexual Harassment Claims ‘Scripted’

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Kruse hasn’t spoken publicly, or responded to reporter inquiries, since he left the Legislature in February — and his resignation became irreversible soon after — following allegations that he groped and sexually harassed female legislators and other staffers.

 

Resigning Oregon senator hits back on ‘scripted’ sex misconduct claims

The Oregonian

But on Friday, he said he resigned without the extent of his due process so as not to distract from the legislative session’s business. He also made a plea for his legacy to be remembered aside from his swift downfall, which he called a scripted “soap opera” designed for political gain. The independent investigator in response urged the public to read the report detailing years of inappropriate behavior.

 

POLICE & PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Oregon House OK’s funding for Eagle Creek Fire recovery

Gresham Outlook

The Oregon House approved funding last weekend to support the Eagle Creek Fire recovery efforts. House Bill 4152, which was approved via vote on Saturday, March 3, provides grants through the Oregon Office of Emergency Management to support the Multnomah County and Hood River County sheriff’s offices as their crews work to make burn areas safe to the public. The chief sponsors of the bill were Rep. Jeff Helfrich, R-Hood River, and Sen. Chuck Thomsen, R-Hood River.

 

Money to boost public safety included in Oregon Legislature’s end-of-session funding

Statesman Journal

Law and order agencies across the state were among dozens of organizations to receive a financial boost from the Oregon Legislature as the session came to a close March 3, receiving requested funds to support current staffing or to forestall declining services.

 

Woodburn works against immigration rhetoric to build trust in police

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Advocates say this is Oregon’s sanctuary law at work. The state’s 30-year-old policy limits police from cooperating with federal immigration efforts. A number of cities and counties, including Portland, have their own policies promising immigrants protection. And that, supporters of such policies say, means immigrants with no criminal record feel comfortable calling law enforcement — even if they’re calling to ask local police to protect them from federal agents.

 

TRANSPORTATION

 

Board seeks proposals on reload center

Ontario Argus Observer

The center would be a centralized location for commodities to be delivered by truck to then be reloaded on to railcars for transport to domestic markets and to ports for shipments overseas. The project was included in the transportation package approved by the 2017 Oregon Legislature and funded at about $26 million. Board members for the corporation were appointed by the Malheur County Court. The board’s first order of business was to select a site for the reload center.

 

GUNS

 

America’s Gun Background Check System Riddled With Flaws

Oregon Public Broadcasting

The problem with the legislation, experts say, is that it only works if federal agencies, the military, states, courts and local law enforcement do a better job of sharing information with the background check system — and they have a poor track record in doing so. Some of the nation’s most horrific mass shootings have revealed major holes in the database reporting system, including massacres at Virginia Tech in 2007 and at a Texas church last year.

 

Lawmakers to consider bills that protect gun retailers

Portland Tribune

Under state and federal law, Oregonians 18 and older can buy rifles and shotguns, and the ammunition for those firearms. You must be at least 21 to buy a handgun and handgun ammunition. Oregon Labor Commissioner Brad Avakian has concluded gun retailers that have stopped selling to customers younger than 21 in the wake of recent mass shootings could be violating the state’s anti-discrimination laws. The decision could be challenged at the Bureau of Labor and Industries or in a civil court complaint.

 

OPINION

Editorial: Good governance is frequently bland

Daily Astorian

Most bills that passed did so on a bipartisan basis, many on unanimous or near-unanimous votes. Among the exceptions were the Democratic majority’s bills to partially disconnect Oregon income tax regulations from the federal tax reforms that became law in December. The wisdom of the state legislation, or lack thereof, likely won’t be known for some time. And despite legislators’ sometimes heated public rhetoric on taxes, immigration and a few other issues, this was a legislative session that largely worked well behind the scenes. Republicans and Democrats collaborated to make an early adjournment possible. Oregon history books may pay little heed to the 2018 Legislature, and that’s OK. Good governance is frequently bland, often tedious … and supremely important.

 

Editorial: The tedious nature of legislation

East Oregonian

Most legislation is tedious — making fixes in laws and regulations, adjusting the state budget, correcting spellings such as for the Central Oregon community of Terrebonne, and the like. Such legislation rarely makes headlines. But it comprises the nuts and bolts of governance, and it was the essence of the 2018 Legislature. Legislative sessions in even-numbered years are short — limited to 35 days — because they’re designed for fix-it and budget balancing bills, not grand visionary legislation. And the 2018 Legislature, which adjourned after only 27 days, largely succeeded in that mission.

 

Editorial: Retailers move a step in right direction

Portland Tribune

Oregonians are all too familiar with the lethal force of the AR-15. It was the weapon used by the gunman in the 2012 Clackamas Town Center shooting, the 2014 Reynold High School shooting, and was in the arsenal of weapons the shooter brought onto the Umpqua Community College campus in Roseburg in 2015.

 

Editorial: Public’s help needed to get clean-energy bill passed in 2019

Statesman Journal

“It’s a pretty firm commitment to getting it done next year,” said Brad Reed, a spokesman for Renew Oregon, a nonprofit that believes that clean energy and a prosperous state are not mutually exclusive. But supporters say it won’t be easy if the groundswell of grassroots advocacy dries up during the interim. So when lawmakers are on the campaign trail this year, Oregonians should show up at town halls and other stump stops, and speak up. Showing up and engaging is how state officials know Oregonians are paying attention to their futures.

 

Editorial: In housing puzzle, tracking rentals is critical piece

The Oregonian Editorial Board

While Mayor Ted Wheeler campaigned on the need for a rental registry, there remains a disturbing lack of urgency in the work to get it up and going. Interim Portland Housing Bureau Director Shannon Callahan confirms the registry is a relatively simple set-up, as far as city tech projects go. That being said, a “beta” version with basic information – units and addresses – won’t be ready to test in-house until June.

 

Is Kate Brown “Easily” the Most Anti-Small Business Governor in Oregon History?

If She Signs the $244M Tax Hike Passed By House & Senate Democrats, Yes
Oregon GOP Chair Says Governor Brown Damaging Oregon’s Job Machine

Wilsonville, OR – Democrat Governor Kate Brown is currently weighing whether to sign Senate Bill 1528 – a bill that amounts to a devastating new tax hike on Oregon’s small businesses that could cost them up to $1 billion by 2023.

The Bend Bulletin is raising the question in a new editorial – “Does Kate Brown really want to help small business?”  The answer? If history is any guide, probably not:

[Governor Brown has said] “Small businesses are the backbone of Oregon’s economy, creating 70 percent of new jobs in the state” and that “We can encourage job growth by giving small-business owners and emerging entrepreneurs the tools they need to expand.”

…It would be astonishing for a governor who has declared so forthrightly that she wants to give small businesses tools to expand to aim to take $1 billion away from small businesses.

“Kate Brown has struck massive blows to Oregonians and their employers by signing massive new tax hikes on energy and healthcare, but now she is about to easily clinch the title as the most anti-small business Governor in Oregon history,” stated Oregon Republican Chairman Bill Currier.

“Governor Brown has betrayed her rhetoric on small businesses time and time again. Oregonians deserve better than a tax-hiking Governor who won’t stand up for the ‘backbone’ of our economy,” said Chair Currier.

“Damaging our state’s small business job-creating engine to fund out-of-control spending in Salem gives Oregon voters yet another reason to end her disastrous governorship this November.”

The Oregon Republican Party is the state’s arm of the Republican National Committee. Its Chairman and officers are dedicated to promoting Republican principles within the state of Oregon and to improving the lives and livelihoods of Oregon’s working families through economic freedom and equal protection under the law.

###

Oregon Republican Party

Communications Director

Kevin Hoar
Email:
communications.director@oregon.gop

Website: Oregon.GOP

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/oregonrepublicanparty/

Twitter: @Oregon_GOP

XML Feed: https://oregon.gop/rss.xml

Main: (503) 595-8881

Direct: (503) 902-4671

Fax: (503) 697-5555

Headquarters: 25375 SW Parkway Ave, Suite 200, Wilsonville, OR 97070

GOOD News…

Good news…you won’t hear in the FAKE News!

 

February Jobs Report Exceeds Expectations: http://www.breitbart.com/economics/2018/03/09/february-jobs-report-2/

3 Million Jobs Added Since TRUMP election: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/09/sarah-sanders-nearly-3-million-u-s-jobs-added-since-donald-trump-elected-president/

US Manufacturers Add 224,000 jobs in 1 year: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/09/this-is-the-greatest-manufacturing-jobs-boom-in-twenty-years/

Record Number of Americans Employed: https://www.cnsnews.com/news/article/susan-jones/155215000-number-employed-americans-sets-8th-record-trump-era

US Steel calls back 500 employees to Illinois Plant: http://www.breitbart.com/economics/2018/03/07/winning-u-s-steel-call-back-500-employees-illinois-plant-trump-announces-tariffs-foreign-steel/

USA is getting closer to energy independence: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/05/soaring-american-oil-production-will-push-u-s-close-to-energy-independence/

Jobless Claims hit lowest level since 1969: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/01/jobless-claims-hit-lowest-level-since-1969/

3.2 Million Americans will drop Obamacare over the next few years: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/03/01/report-3-2-million-americans-will-drop-obamacare-for-association-health-plans/

TRUMP strikes Deal to save $1.4 Million on Air Force One Planes: http://www.breitbart.com/big-government/2018/02/27/donald-trump-strikes-deal-to-save-1-4-billion-on-air-force-one-planes/

 

TRUMP making America Great Again – Tax Reduction…Job Creation…Consumer Confidence…Energy Independence…Productivity…and PROSPERITY all improving in the first 12 months!

 

Still in Denial: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2018/03/01

Public-Sector Unions: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2018/02/28

Fix-It: http://www.gocomics.com/michaelramirez/2018/03/08

 

Lanny Hildebrandt MBA CPA

Hildebrandt & Company PC

Certified Public Accountants

1615 Fourth Street

La Grande OR  97850

Telephone: (541) 963-7930

Fax: (541) 963-7750

Email: hilde@eoni.com

 

New Tax Incentive for Oregon Businesses

Secretary of State

DENNIS RICHARDSON

The State of Oregon

900 Court Street NE, Salem, Oregon 97310  –

 oregon.sos@oregon.gov

New Tax Incentive for Oregon Businesses

I want to share with you an exciting new federal tax incentive created to drive investment in communities that have previously been hampered by a lack of access to capital. The potential for Oregon investors and small businesses to benefit is enormous if action is taken before March 14.

The federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 allows Oregon’s Governor to nominate up to 86 Opportunity Zones in our state. The final selections will be made by the U.S. Department of Treasury from this list. These Opportunity Zones are similar to enterprise zones and are designed to draw private investment to low-income communities.

Business owners around the state have until March 14 to provide input to Business Oregon on the best locations for these 86 Opportunity Zones.

To understand why these Opportunity Zones are so important, consider the investment potential they offer. Under the new federal tax laws, investors with currently unrealized capital gains can move those gains “tax deferred” into an “Opportunity Fund.”  Opportunity Funds (O-Funds) are expected to be created by CDFIs (Community Development Financial Institutions).

Once placed in an O-Fund, the amount invested will be available to invest in property and improvements in Opportunity Zones, with some limitations. Please consult a professional tax advisor for specifics, but our understanding is that investors who leave their money in the O-Fund for 10 years will qualify for a 15% decrease in capital gains taxes on the original sum they invested. Plus, any gains earned through the fund’s investments are tax-free under current state and federal law.

To understand the significance of this new federal incentive for investing in an Opportunity Zone, consider the following example:

“Susie has $100 of unrealized capital gains in her stock portfolio. She decides in 2018 to reinvest those gains into an O-Fund that invests in distressed areas of her home state, and she holds that investment for 10 years. Susie is able to defer the tax she owes on her original $100 of capital gains until 2026. Further, the basis is increased by 15% (effectively reducing her $100 of taxable capital gains to $85). Thus, she will owe $20 (23.8% of $85) of tax on her original capital gains when the bill finally comes due. In addition, since she holds her O-Fund investment for at least 10 years, she owes no capital gains tax on its appreciation. Assuming that her O-Fund investment grows 7% annually, the after-tax value of her original $100 investment in 2028 is $176. Susie has enjoyed a 5.8% effective annual return, compared to the 2.8% an equivalent non-O-Fund investment would have delivered.” (Credit: Economic Innovation Group Fact Sheet)

Oregon can only nominate up to 86 Opportunity Zones – approximately one-quarter of the areas that actually qualify as Low Income Census tracts (LICs). Potentially eligible LIC areas are located in most regions of the state—both urban and rural. You can see a map here.

Business Oregon is taking the lead on this process. They are actively seeking input and nomination requests from interested Oregonians. Business Oregon must receive all of these nominations by March 14. They will then work with the Governor’s office to develop a final nomination list to be sent to the federal government.

My understanding is that the Opportunity Zones that will be successful in the nomination process should already have the potential to handle outside investment. They may already have infrastructure in place and some zoning ready to go, and they may be adjacent to enterprise zones if they otherwise qualify.

In short, Oregon’s Opportunity Zones will create new opportunities for investment and job creation. If you are an Oregon business owner, please consider whether this new federal tax law could benefit your business. Recommendations should be sent to Business Oregon, and more information is available here.

 

Daily Clips

ELECTIONS

 

Lori Chavez-DeRemer plans rematch against Democrat Janelle Bynum

Portland Tribune

“House District 51 deserves a voice in the Legislature. I am committed to the people of House District 51 and to our state, and that’s why I am standing up and accepting the challenge. I was asked to step up, shown there is a pathway to victory and to help give House District 51 the voice we deserve, that we do not have right now under Representative Bynum’s failed leadership.

 

“I am running to take my record of standing up for our community, our values and our hopes, to the Statehouse, where left-wing special interests dictate policies through bought politicians like Representative Janelle Bynum. We need people in the Legislature who will stand up to the status quo, not perpetuate it for personal gain. Our state is among the worst in the nation for education, mental health, fiscal security in our pension system, the list goes on. It doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately, under the governor and one-party rule, the system has become broken.

 

“I believe in the Oregon Way. We have so many different cultures and perspectives in Oregon and I’m running to advocate for a more equitable, fairer, inclusive system. I am running to end the status quo and fight for a better future for all Oregonians.”

 

2018 SESSION

 

Oregon won’t allow 529 tax breaks for K-12 private school

The Oregonian

Oregon parents won’t get a state tax break on money they save to pay for K-12 private schooling, lawmakers have decided. That’s despite a federal tax break approved in December as part of a congressional tax overhaul. Traditional college savings plans – known as 529 accounts – have offered an incentive for families to save for college. Parents and students invest in 529s and, if the accounts increase in value, they can withdraw that increase – tax free – to pay for college expenses.

 

School sexual misconduct bill passes through legislature, awaits governor’s signature

Statesman Journal

“We are encouraged that both the House and the Senate supported the bill,” parent Dionne Miller said. “We’re confident that it’s really just the beginning of what inevitably will be a huge reform in how K-12 looks to handle circumstances like ours.” Under the bill, when students make sexual misconduct claims, school districts would be required to notify the students, and their parents, when the investigation is concluded; whether a violation occurred; and what measures the district is making to prevent the misconduct from happening in the future.

 

AGRICULTURE & NATURAL RESOURCES

 

Oregon mega-dairy sued by state for release of wastewater, by contractors for unpaid bills

The Oregonian

The controversial Boardman-area mega-dairy that drew thousands of opponents as it prepared to open last April may be forced to close in the wake of state fines, enforcement actions and now a lawsuit. The Oregon Department of Agriculture asked a Multnomah County judge late last month to temporarily stop the dairy’s ability to create or discharge wastewater after eight months of non-stop permit violations.

 

Water users push back on injunction

Herald and News

A group of Klamath Basin water users Wednesday filed a motion in federal court in San Francisco pushing for at least a delay in the court-ordered injunction to keep 50,000 acre feet held in reserve in Upper Klamath Lake. The water is to be used to flush out the Klamath River in the spring to mitigate the impact of disease on coho salmon.

 

GOVERNOR BROWN

 

Gov. Brown testifies in U.S. Senate about opioid crisis

Bend Bulletin

Touting Oregon’s efforts to combat the opioid crisis, Gov. Kate Brown told a U.S. Senate committee Thursday that states need the federal government to step up its efforts by providing more money and moving beyond punishment of drug users to prevention. “Right now, the federal government recognizes the problem but is focused on punishment,” Brown said. “That leaves us — the states — to right the wrongs of a war on drugs.”

 

COURTS & PUBLIC SAFETY

 

Immigrant’s meth conviction reversed over deportation confusion

The Oregonian

The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday threw out the conviction of a Wilsonville methamphetamine dealer because his defense attorney didn’t tell him that he faced mandatory deportation. Javier Garcia-Navarro, 48, had lived many years in the U.S. as a permanent legal resident when he was caught in 2012 selling methamphetamine to an informant and had two small baggies in his car while returning from a trip visiting family in Mexico, investigators said.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Does Kate Brown really want to help small business?

Bend Bulletin

Even if you are a surrealism fan, it would be astonishing for a governor who has declared so forthrightly that she wants to give small businesses tools to expand to aim to take $1 billion away from small businesses.

 

Editorial: Advance directive bill offers a step forward

Albany Democrat-Herald

The fact that Oregon was the first state in the nation to adopt legislation regarding advance directives speaks well of this state’s leadership in end-of-life issues. But there’s obviously still a lot of work ahead, work to dispel rumors, work to explain the huge difference that an advance directive can make — not just for better deaths but for better lives as well.

 

Editorial: Don’t rely on taxes to solve affordable housing

Bend Bulletin

It’s more difficult to extend that argument to much of the land east of the Cascades, however. Over here on the high, dry side of the state, much highly profitable agriculture is limited to areas near the Columbia River and to those with elevations substantially below Bend’s 3,623 feet. Moreover, in counties like Deschutes, with 80 percent or more of land in public ownership, urban sprawl is unlikely. Oregonians must recognize and tell their lawmakers: If more land were available for homes in Bend, Medford, Portland — you name it — it would ease pressure on prices to rise.

 

Guest: C’mon Courtney: ‘Cap and gown?’ It’s time to get serious

Anthony Effinger, Portland resident

In a bizarre news conference on Jan. 29, you claimed that this year’s 35-day legislative session – that ended with a climate-ignoring whimper on March 3 — was too short to consider complex cap-and-trade climate bills like the one that your own Democratic caucus supports. I say bizarre because you kept calling the system “cap and gown.” Was that supposed to be funny? Like, the 10 years of work that scientists and lawmakers have put into these bills is something to be mocked? What does a gown have to do with climate change? The Democrats who pushed for action did so because the legislature already took up the Clean Energy Jobs bills in the long, luxurious 160-day session last year. Nothing happened then, so why should I believe that you’ll do something in 2019?

 

Guest: Sheriff Mike Reese: Arming teachers is a mistake

Cindy and Mike Reese

Finally, if we are serious about reducing gun violence in our schools, we need legislation to limit high-capacity magazines, assault style weapons and the age allowed to purchase firearms. There is no single solution to the problem of gun violence in our schools, but there are steps we can take to make a positive difference. Arming teachers is not one of them.

 

Column: Trump’s trade taunts turn dangerously real

Tim Nesbitt, public policy consultant and former president of the Oregon AFL-CIO

Campaign rhetoric is no substitute for smart governance. That was proven with the wrangle over Obamacare, where more sensible politics averted real damage to our health care system. But rhetoric appears to be ascendant over reality on the trade front now. And, at some point, this febrile governing-by-tweet-and-taunt will unleash a cascade of consequences for our jobs and our economy that even the fixers can’t fix.

House Democrats hit smallest of Oregon small businesses with last-minute money grab

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

 

 

SB 1528 passed both chambers of the Legislature without a single Republican vote

 

Salem, Ore. – Oregon House Democrats today approved legislation that will increase the tax burden on the smallest of Oregon small businesses by hundreds of millions of dollars. Passed without a single Republican yes vote, SB 1528 will unfairly prioritize benefits for large corporations and wealthy Oregonians while slamming mom and pop businesses like Schedule-C self-employed filers with higher tax bills.

 

“Most small businesses in Oregon are not made of wealthy attorneys or medical professions,” said Representative E. Werner Reschke (R-Klamath Falls). Statistics from the Oregon Department of Revenue tell us that these nearly 300,000 small Oregon businesses who will be negatively affected by SB 1528 are made up of 1-2 individuals and make a gross total of less than $50,000/year. These are mostly self-employed, home-based businesses — for example mom’s who sell their crafts on Etsy or eBay to help make ends meet; uber drivers and freelance writers.

 

“Small businesses aren’t small when you look at Oregon’s economy. Small businesses account for 1/2 of Oregon’s workforce. Oregon’s small businesses indeed are the engine of our economy — and yet — SB 1528 will take away a tax incentive for this vital part of Oregon’s economy to not just survive, but to thrive.”

 

Republicans pointed out that one of the biggest losers in the wake of SB 1528 would be Schedule C self-employed filers. According to data obtained by Representative Parrish from the Oregon Department of Revenue, 192,000 “Schedule-C” filers would not be eligible for a 20% reduction on their Oregon income taxes if SB 1582 goes into law.  With an effective state tax rate of 7.7%, these hardworking Oregonians already pay a higher tax rate than large Oregon C-corporations. Estimates provided by the Legislative Revenue Office show SB 1528 will raise approximately $258 million in new revenue for the State of Oregon. Roughly 40%, or $103 million, will be paid for by Schedule-C filers.

 

“Under SB 1528, 192,000 Schedule-C filers will be shouldering 40% of the overall burden of being disconnected from the federal tax code,” said Representative Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). “That’s $103 million that will not be available for those local and family owned companies to reinvest in their businesses or put food on the table for their families. That’s money they won’t have to spend in their local economy. These are not “crumbs” as U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would like us to believe — these are real dollars that make a real impact for these small business owners.”

 

SB 1528 passed by a vote of 38-28, with several House Democrats joining Republicans in opposing the bill. Prior to the passage of the bill, House Democrats rejected a minority report to the bill that would have full reconnected Oregon to the federal tax code.

 

###

 

Daily Clips

Ag business owner to seek District 15 House seat

Albany Democrat-Herald

 

GOVERNMENT & POLITICS

 

Tax measures move to full House for debate

Portland Tribune

Two bills that comprise Oregon’s response to recent changes in the federal tax code are inching closer to passage, having passed out of the House Revenue Committee on a party-line vote Wednesday. They are scheduled to go next to the full House of Representatives for debate. Oregon’s income tax code is largely based on the federal code. Tax deductions created by federal tax law are available on state tax returns unless those provisions are specifically disconnected from Oregon law.

 

Oregon Democrats Push Ahead Business Taxes Over GOP Objections

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Oregon Democratic legislators moved forward on two business tax measures Wednesday over the objections of Republicans. The fight in the House Revenue Committee was also a confrontation in some ways between Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, and Republican Rep. Knute Buehler of Bend. He’s hoping to win the Republican primary in May so he can run against Brown in the fall. The two tax bills were drafted in reaction to the sweeping new federal tax law passed by congressional Republicans in Washington. Oregon automatically connects to several federal tax definitions that affect how much people and businesses pay in income taxes.

 

Loophole in Oregon’s toxic air plan divides environmental groups

The Oregonian

Many of Oregon’s existing air polluters would be allowed to create up to a 200-in-a-million cancer risk under a compromise toxic air plan moving forward in the Legislature, a new analysis by an influential environmental attorney says. It’s enough of a deal-breaker that seven environmental groups say they’re opposing the bill. But Senate Bill 1541, which unanimously passed the key Joint Ways and Means Committee Wednesday, appears likely to win full legislative approval after environmental advocates won other concessions this week.

 

Oregon House passes pricing transparency bill for expensive prescription drugs

Register-Guard

Rep. Ron Noble, a McMinnville Republican, said that he generally supports the free market when it comes to prices, but “it’s been a long time since health care has been an open market.” Noble described his experience as a public safety officer at Linfield College, where he saw the cost of an old product, EpiPens, which are used for severe allergic reactions, soar “for no apparent reason.” “My constituents, regardless of where they land on the political spectrum, care about the cost of prescription drugs,” he said. “Sunshine is the best disinfectant.” Opponents said the bill would be ineffective at curbing drug costs, stifle incentives for medical innovation and require drug companies to reveal sensitive business information.

 

House passes bill requiring reasons for drug price increases

Portland Tribune

“This legislation will help us take the first step, a step we need to take to begin to get at the fastest growing expense we have in health care — prescription drug costs,” Nosse said. “Oregonians deserve to have transparency in something as vital to good health as prescription drugs. My hope is that this legislation will set us down a path to making health care more affordable for everyone.”

 

‘Witch Hunt’ Or ‘Legislative Intent?’ Oregon Lawmakers’ Dilemma Over Kim Sordyl

Oregon Public Broadcasting

Rep. Margaret Doherty, D-Tigard, said she didn’t know who Kim Sordyl was and that the bill was not intended to push a particular person off the state ed board. Oregon legislators put the secretary of state and treasurer on the state board as ex-officio members in 2009. The law left flexibility for the elected officials to designate representatives if they weren’t going to attend board meetings themselves.  At the recent committee hearing, Doherty said that legislators wanted to add expertise in civics and finance from the secretary of state and treasurer, respectively, when they added them to the board almost a decade ago. “When this bill was put in … the legislative intent is that the designee would be somebody from the office of the treasurer or the secretary of state,” Doherty said.

 

Key lawmaker backs OSU Cascades funding as session wanes

Bend Bulletin

Drug transparency moved on while school class size and public pension reform bills stalled Wednesday as the short session increasingly took its toll on initiatives before the Legislature. Also notable: A key lawmaker’s strong statement in favor of OSU-Cascades funding, which is still on the table. The biggest debate of the day was in the House, which considered House Bill 4005, a bill to require pharmaceutical companies open their books on drug costs or face fines. It passed 46-14 on a bipartisan vote and now goes to the Senate.

 

CCO Reform Bill Faces Last-Minute Hurdle

The Lund Report

The Senate Health Committee cleared the CCO reform bill on party lines, setting up a vote in the full Senate to require the state’s 15 coordinated care organizations to meet more openly and spend excess reserves on reducing the social determinants of health. But at the last minute, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, ordered the bill sent to the Senate Rules Committee for a hearing Wednesday afternoon, for what appears to be a small technical change. A proposed amendment makes clear that most of the new law would take effect next year and clarifies that open meetings are only needed when “substantive” decisions are made.

 

State health care declaration falters

Associated Press

An effort to insert an amendment in Oregon’s Constitution making health care a right died amid concerns by lawmakers that it would expose the state to lawsuits. Such an amendment would have been unprecedented among U.S. states, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Democratic-controlled state House approved the measure 35-25 on Feb. 13, but it never reached the floor of the Democratic-controlled Senate for a vote.

 

Legislator: Mandatory reporting proposal to lose key clause

Associated Press

Major changes are in the works for a controversial proposal that would have changed mandatory abuse reporting requirements in Oregon and would have allowed school officials and others not to report sex between under-age people they discovered. The measure followed controversy surrounding reports in 2017 that teachers in Oregon’s Salem-Keizer school district were instructed to report sexually active students to state authorities. Instead of putting the measure to a vote of the full House, representatives sent the proposal back to committee, where legislators amended it, stripping key provisions surrounding the age limits at the heart of the controversy. Representatives on the House Rules panel unanimously approved the amendment and sent the bill back to the full House. “It will be back on floor tomorrow without any language related to child abuse reporting,” said Sen. Sara Gelser, the measure’s sponsor.

 

ELECTIONS

 

Buehler…? Buehler…? Buehler?

Oregon Business

Rep. Knute Buehler aims to become the first Republican in several decades to win the Oregon governor’s race. His biggest challenge is that he’s a GOP candidate in a blue state. His second biggest challenge? Making sure voters know who he is.

 

SCHOOL SAFETY

 

La Pine High School student arrested in shooting threat

Bend Bulletin

A school resource officer at La Pine High School, responding to a tip from a student at 7:30 a.m. Wednesday, arrested a 15-year-old boy who reportedly made violent threats. The teenager is accused of threatening students and staff on three occasions over the past two months. The most recent threat occurred two days ago, involving the use of firearms, according to Deschutes County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. William Bailey.

 

JOBS & ECONOMY

 

Eastern Oregon co-op to expand Columbia River grain terminal

East Oregonian

Morrow County Grain Growers, a farm supply and marketing cooperative based in northeast Oregon, broke ground Wednesday morning on a major expansion of its grain elevator and shipping terminal along the Columbia River in Boardman. With support from a $2.5 million state grant, the co-op plans to build a new rail unloading facility at the 35-year-old terminal, transferring grain from trains onto river barges en route to Portland for export.

 

Oregon to fix nearly every curb ramp on its roads by 2032

Daily Astorian

Nearly all of Clatsop County’s more than 500 curb ramps on state roads do not comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. But after an important legal settlement, the state Department of Transportation has committed to repairing all of them — and others across Oregon — in the next 15 years. Disability Rights Oregon, a Portland nonprofit, filed the federal lawsuit on behalf of people with disabilities and finalized a settlement with the state last year. Since1990, federal law has mandated that states must ensure all new or improved infrastructure — including areas where pedestrians enter sidewalks — be accessible to the disabled.

 

OPINION

 

Editorial: Sometimes bills die for good reasons

Mail Tribune

One piece of legislation missed a key deadline this week, and Senate Democrats killed a second bill by refusing to bring it to a vote. That’s not necessarily a bad thing in either case. Backers of a third bill that lacks wide support are trying to amend it to accomplish half of its purpose, leaving the other half to the 2019 Legislature. That measure, too, should be allowed to mercifully expire for now.

 

Editorial: State should get what it’s owed from Sisters airport

Bend Bulletin

ODOT said in a statement this week: “ODOT has always taken concerns over the Connect Oregon-funded Sisters Airport projects very seriously. We’ve been operating in good faith to try to negotiate a settlement in this matter as quickly as reasonably possible, while also being thorough. While we can’t provide a specific timeline, we believe we will know the next step in this matter in the near future. We will issue a news release at that time.”

 

Editorial: Hackers eye new attacks on elections

Albany Democrat-Herald

Vote fraud on the scale alleged by some members of the administration simply isn’t occurring — it’s “fake news,” in the term that the administration likes to use. But that doesn’t mean we can ignore real electoral threats. Oregon’s system may not necessarily be the solution for every state, but it could be one option to help protect the integrity of U.S. elections.

 

192,000 mom and pop small businesses to face higher tax bills under SB 1528

 

OREGON HOUSE REPUBLICAN OFFICE

 

“Schedule-C” tax filers already pay higher tax rate than large corporations

 

Salem, Ore. – Under legislation advanced by House Democrats on the Revenue Committee today, 192,000 of the smallest of small businesses in Oregon will be stuck with a 20% higher tax bill. Passed out of committee on a party-line vote, SB 1528 guts tax relief for these small businesses while maintaining tax breaks for large corporations and creating a new “tax credit auction” for wealthy Oregonians.

 

“This legislation will result in one of the most inequitable tax outcomes I have seen yet as a member of this body,” said Representative Julie Parrish (R-West Linn). “SB 1528 slaps mom and pop businesses with a massive increase on their tax bills while preserving huge breaks for large corporations in Oregon. We should not be asking the smallest of Oregon small businesses to shoulder so much of the burden of disconnecting from the federal tax code.”

 

Schedule-C filers represent self-employed owners of the smallest of Oregon small business. According to data obtained by Representative Parrish from the Oregon Department of Revenue, 192,000 “Schedule-C” filers would not be eligible for a 20% reduction on their Oregon income taxes if SB 1582 goes into law.  With an effective state tax rate of 7.7%, these hardworking Oregonians already pay a higher tax rate than large Oregon C-corporations.

 

According to estimates provided by the Legislative Revenue Office, SB 1528 will raise approximately $258 million in new revenue for the State of Oregon. Roughly 40%, or $103 million, will be paid for by Schedule-C filers.

 

“Under SB 1528, 192,000 Schedule-C filers will be shouldering 40% of the overall burden of being disconnected from the federal tax code,” continued Rep. Parrish. “That’s $103 million that will not be available for those local and family owned companies to reinvest in their businesses or put food on the table for their families. That’s money they won’t have to spend in their local economy. These are not “crumbs” as U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi would like us to believe — these are real dollars that make a real impact for these small business owners.”

 

In addition to jacking up tax bills for Schedule-C filers, SB 1528 will also increase tax bills for small businesses organized as Limited Liability Corporations, Partnerships and S-Corporations. The bill has not received a single Republican yes vote throughout its journey in the legislative process.

 

Parrish also objected to a new, expensive tax credit auction in SB 1582 whereby Oregon’s highest income earners can buy tax credits to offset their tax liability. For the remainder of the biennium, these tax credits will cost $14 million dollars ($28 million in 2019-21). Wealthy Oregonians will enjoy these new tax savings at the expense of the small business owners who will lose an average tax savings of $359 per small Schedule-C filing business.

 

“This tax credit scheme is an absolute sham. It steals the tax deduction allowed under federal law from these mom and pop businesses and transfers those general fund dollars to Oregon’s top 1% income earners.  These high-income investors have the financial resources and means to game the tax system in this manner, and they have allies in the Democratic lawmakers who are supporting this kind of new tax giveaway that everyday Oregonian can’t fairly access,” Rep. Parrish said.

 

SB 1528 passed out of the House Committee on Revenue today on a 5-4 vote. House Republicans plan to submit a minority report to the bill that would fully connect Oregon’s tax code with the federal tax code, preserving tax breaks for Oregon small businesses and killing the tax credit auction for Oregon’s wealthiest tax filers.

 

###