– OSCC

Executive order signed by Governor Kate Brown at the Governor’s Marketplace, March 22. This order states the all State Agencies are directs state agencies to work collaboratively in the promotion of equitable procurement practices, providing accessibility of contracting opportunities and resources to businesses throughout the state. If you want to know how to become a Certified Small Business so that you can apply or bid on these opportunities come to our office and connect with Lisa Farquharson. 541-296-2231

2018 Final Legislative Report

Dear OSCC members and colleagues –
 
Today, we will be issuing a full 2018 legislative report for you to share with your members. In the meantime, here is a full accounting of the 2018 bills that OSCC worked on or monitored this session: 
  • ‘Cap and Trade’ (HB 4001 / SB 1507) Proposed legislation would have capped industrial emissions at 25,000 metric tons per entity and charged the DEQ with creating a program for pricing emissions and determining allowances for regulated businesses and exemptions for trade exposed businesses. It designated money to be spent on impacted communities, rural areas, tribal entities and financial support low income utility customers and workers dislocated or adversely affected by climate change policies. Industry strongly opposed ‘Cap and Trade’ measures and were able to defeat the bills and push the conversation into 2019. ‘Cap and Trade’ defeated in 2018.  But $1.5 million approved for further study in 2018 directed by the Governor’s office. We also anticipate a new joint legislative committee to be appointed over the interim to sustain momentum on the issue.
     
  • Cleaner Air Oregon (SB 1541) OSCC lobbied as part of a business coalition in support of SB 1541, which created a more reasonable, pro-business alternative to the air toxics regulatory program that the DEQ was poised to administer. SB 1541 established an attainable health-based program with more reasonable health-based benchmarks codified in statute. Industry was rightfully concerned that proposed DEQ regulations would force many businesses to curtail operations due to unrealistic benchmarks. SB 1541 allayed those concerns. In exchange for the implementation of the new statutory program, industry would remove its stranglehold on Title V and ACDP fees. SB 1541 passed and will be signed by the Governor. It should also be noted that the legislature appropriated $1 million to pay for the program, effectively reducing the proposed fee increases on permits. 
     
  • Pass-through Income Deduction (SB 1528) The legislature rammed through SB 1528 with bare majorities in what was the most contentious tax issue of the session. SB 1528 disconnected from one piece of the 2017 federal ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ – the 20% income deduction for pass-through business entities (S corps, LLCs, Partnerships, Sole Proprietors). OSCC argued for full connection to the federal tax cut legislation, particularly those provisions that benefitted small businesses. SB 1528 effectively denied Oregon pass-through businesses the ability to claim the pass-through deduction on Oregon tax returns. In doing so, the state will be gaining an additional $200 million per year in additional tax revenue that would have otherwise gone toward small business tax relief. SB 1528 passed legislature, but Governor has made clear she will entertain a veto request.
  • Document Recording Fee (HB 4007) OSCC supported and made the difference in the passage of HB 4007, which increased the document recording fee from $20 to $60 to generate a consistent funding stream for housing assistance and new housing developments. Early in session, the advocates were able to reach an agreement with the Realtors Association to increase the document recording fee from $20 to $60. This increase will bring in $60 million per biennium. HB 4007 also established a newly created First Time Home Buyer Savings Account, which provides first time buyers a tax deduction for savings applied to buying a home. The key policy change that earned OSCC’s support was that the criteria was changed to allow money to be used for workforce housing, not just low-income housing. HB 4007 passes and raises a $60 million per biennium to meaningfully address homelessness and build affordable workforce housing units. 
     
  • PERS Side Accounts (SB 1566) The governor’s priority bill on PERS was the creation of an ‘Employer Incentive Fund’ that would capture windfall revenues and direct those revenues to bring financial assistance to local governments and school districts in need of paying down their PERS liabilities. The question, however, was how to capitalize the fund. That question was answered with the passage of SB 1529, which directed more than $100 million of one-time repatriated income tax receipts (from the federal ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act’) into the fund. In a very real way, Oregon’s largest companies are now directly buying down the PERS debt of local governments and K-12 districts. SB 1556 passed and funded by windfall tax receipts.
     
  • Data Breach (SB 1551) OSCC carefully monitored data breach legislation. In response to the Equifax data breach, the Oregon Legislature introduced Senate Bill 1551, which originally represented a significant administrative burden for businesses faced with a breach of customer data.After significant negotiation, SB 1551 passed and contains the following provisions: (1) Requires free security freezes and thaws, (2) Prohibits upselling security products after a data breach, (3) Requires 45-day notice of breach by the responsible party only (defined as the party that was subjected to the breach and owns, licenses, or otherwise possesses the information), (4) Maintains requirement that notice is only necessary when a combination of data is stolen that would provide access to accounts. If the stolen information is not sufficient to access accounts, it is not subject to this legislation, and (5) the final version of the bill does not contain a private right of action provision.
     
  • Diesel Engine Requirements (HB 4003) House Bill 4003 would have imposed additional emissions regulations on medium and heavy-duty diesel trucks as well as off-road diesel engines used primarily in construction. The concept showed signs of life toward the end of session but did not advance out of House Rules Committee. HB 4003 defeated, no new diesel regulations in 2018. 
     
  • Paid Family Leave (HB 4160) Paid Family Leave was introduced late in the session. To pay for the mandated leave, the bill would have established a new payroll tax on employers and income tax on employees. As in 2017, the bill required a three-fifths vote, which prevented the concept from emerging as a major threat. Legislators have formed an interim work group to examine this issue and come back in 2019 with recommendations. OSCC will participate in the workgroup during the interim. HB 4160 failed to advance, but it will be a top priority for Democratic leaders in the 2019 session.
     
  • Overtime Law Fix (HB 4021) OSCC and others have asked the legislature for continued work on the work week cap for manufacturing production employees passed by the 2017 legislature. OSCC is concerned that the new law will make it hard for manufacturers to meet customer demand, particularly when those employers are in workforce-constrained locations. HB 4021 was introduced by Senator Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) to help continue to make the new law workable for various industry concerns. HB 4021 did not receive any consideration.
     
  • Health Care Penalty Payments (HB 4105) For several sessions, there have been various measures introduced that would penalize employers if employees receive public assistance. HB 4105 would have required employers to pay a tax for any employees working 30+ hours per week who was also enrolled in public medical assistance. Would have applied to any company with 50 or more employees. HB 4105 did not advance.
  • Corporate Taxes (SB 1529) OSCC supported passage of SB 1529 as a means to (1) ensure that all Oregon businesses received the full depreciation benefits of the new federal tax law, and (2) ensure that Oregon’s tax haven law (which results in state double taxation on foreign earnings when combined with the new federal tax law), would be repealed. SB 1529 passed the legislature.
     
  • Transient Lodging Taxes (HB 4120) Legislators finally succeeded in passing legislation that would ensure payment of state lodging taxes for short term rentals booked through online platforms. HB 4120 clarified that short-term rental intermediaries are responsible for collecting and remitting transient lodging taxes. The legislation was supported by the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association as well as local government. HB 4120 passed.
     
  • Non-Economic Damage Caps (No Bills Introduced) Very notable this session was the absence of legislation to increase or eliminate Oregon’s cap on non-economic damages in health care and general business lawsuits. No damage cap legislation or amendments were introduced. Non-economic damage caps not considered in 2018.

 

Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182

 

 

2018 Legislative Report – Week 4

Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues –
 
We are now entering the homestretch of the 2018 session. Although the Constitutional end date to this session is Sunday March 11th, we would be very surprised if the session lasted past Monday, March 5th.
 
There is, quite simply, no compelling reason for the legislature to continue to be in session. There is no budget emergency or compelling issue that requires legislative work. Both House and Senate leadership are well aware of this, and both chambers are looking for closure.
 
In our view, the session could easily end over the coming weekend, but Monday is probably most likely. We think it’s clear that legislative leaders do not want to be in session during the Tuesday, March 6th candidate filing deadline. The pageantry associated with this day (along with the fundraising opportunities) would be lost if the legislature were in session.

Here are the major developments of Week 4:
1. We believe ‘Cap and Trade’ is now definitively dead. This is the first time we’ve felt comfortable making this statement since the session began. House leadership tried to revive the ‘Cap and Trade’ bill – House Bill 4001 – with amendments last week that would have completely punted all ‘Cap and Trade’ policy-making to the Oregon DEQ to start immediately.  The amendment gambit was a disaster. Not only did the amendments harden opposition to the bill from opponents, but they also fractured the proponents. The interest groups who were promised money in the current legislation were no longer promised money in the amendments. There may yet be a half-baked effort to force a vote in the House on HB 4001, but the Senate is absolutely done with the issue

2. The Senate passed SB 1528 by a 16-13 margin. This tax bill contains one central provision that impacts pass-through local businesses – it disconnects from the 2017 federal ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act’ provision that allows a 20% off-the-top deduction from pass-through business income. This is a major denial of tax benefits that would otherwise be due to local pass-through business entities (S corps, LLC’s, etc). The state will net nearly $200 million per year with this denial of tax benefits to these businesses. It is expected that SB 1528 will easily pass the more progressive House. (Please note, SB 1528 only affects state tax filings, not federal tax filings).

  

In a related development, the previous version of SB 1528 which effectively repealed Oregon’s ‘small business tax cut’ for pass-through businesses was defeated. As of today, Oregon’s lower tax rates for Oregon pass-through businesses have survived the legislative onslaught.

3. A ‘Cleaner Air Oregon’ compromise bill – SB 1541 – continues to look promising. OSCC is tentatively supportive of the current version of the compromise bill which codifies more reasonable risk levels than the current version of the Cleaner Air Oregon rule. In exchange for these more reasonable benchmarks, industry will agree to pay for administration of the program. This issue will simply come down to one thing – whether House leadership will try and re-negotiate the deal. If they do, it will likely be unacceptable to business groups and will die. If the policy bill dies, DEQ will be denied additional funding for its rulemaking. OSCC will be closely monitoring this legislation.

4. Affordable Workforce Housing. House Bill 4007 is still very much alive. It proposes to raise the document recording fee from $20 to $60 to put more money into first time homebuyer incentives and tens of millions of dollars for affordable and workforce housing projects. There is now a compromise consensus around the $60 level. This bill is probably the best hope to advance workforce housing progress this session and the deal-making surrounding this bill is the linchpin around which the session will start to shut down. As indicated on the OSCC government affairs call, OSCC will potentially weigh in support of the legislation now that the $60 fee is agreed to.

 

5. As we pointed out last week, the progress of HJR 203 through the legislative process continues to amaze and baffle us. This legislation makes access to affordable health care a constitutional right enshrined in the Oregon Constitution. The budget and tax ramifications are enormous. The legal ambiguity surrounding the state’s new obligations under this measure are murky and potentially bankrupting. The legislation passed the House on a party-line 35-25 vote. It was widely expected that the Senate would be the more sober chamber and decline the opportunity to advance the measure. But as of right now, it appears the Senate is poised to approve the measure also. If it does, it will appear on the November 2018 general election ballot.
 
6. There continues to be no real employment law legislation of note except for a new data breach law that industry is now largely supporting. SB 1551 would impose some additional requirements on businesses that experience a security breach involving customer data, including a 45-day window in which to notify customers, but again, the new changes are largely supported by industry.
 
7. OSCC will be tracking truck idling legislation – SB 1509 – which allows local governments to regulate commercial truck idling near schools, daycare facilities or health care facilities. The bill further exempts trucks with model year 2008 clean diesel engines from all idling restrictions. The bill was a compromise which passed the Senate unanimously, but there are potential shenanigans in the House which could derail industry support. The legislation that would have further regulated diesel engines – HB 4003 – now appears dead.
 
8. Fiscal Reform.   The Governor’s primary PERS push is going to be a bill which creates PERS ‘side accounts’ to help school districts be able to pre-pay their PERS liabilities. The bill is Senate Bill 1566. It is unknown at this point exactly where all the funding will come from to fund the side accounts in a meaningful way. Overall, it is a very modest proposal that could help ease the PERS crunch on school budgets on the margins.   We are still expecting SB 1566 to advance.
 
Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182

 

Take action now on Cap and Trade
The Dalles Area Chamber of Commerce

 
The Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC) are mobilizing chambers across the state to join in opposition to Cap and Trade legislation. The Dalles Area Chamber is standing with the OSCC and want you to take action along with us so that our VOICE is heard!t
 
Cap and Trade has large implications for Oregon’s business community and will have a significant impact on consumers. It is important that the business community voice their concerns with our legislators. 
 
TAKE ACTION NOW … TODAY
 
The OSCC has put together a toolkit which includes everything our business community will need to advocate against Cap and Trade. Here’s how to take the next step.
 
 
Public hearing scheduled for Wednesday (TODAY)
 
The public hearing for Cap and Trade (HB 4001 and SB 1507) will be held on:
 
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
3-8pm in Hearing Room F
Oregon State Capitol
 
OSCC will be sharing a room (Room 50 in the Capitol basement) with the Farm Bureau for those who would like to provide testimony and/or show support. OSCC has been informed that individual testimony will be limited to 2 minutes per person. Please make plans to come and show your support for OSCC’s and The Dalles Area Chamber’s position!!!
 
For those who would like to submit your testimony for the record, please send your comments to the following email address: [email protected] 
 
Now is the time to get involved. Please join The Dalles Area Chamber and OSCC in opposing Cap and Trade legislation and encourage your customers to do the same.

 

 

OSCC Board adopts 2018 Legislative Agenda
Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 
 
OSCC is pleased to announce that the Board of Directors has approved the 2018 Legislative Agenda. View agenda
 
For 2018, OSCC requests that the Oregon legislature stay true to the intent of the short session by keeping focused on limited policy discussions and budget/policy adjustments stemming from the 2017 legislative session.
 
OSCC‘s Legislative Agenda gives a voice to the business community,” said Colene Martin, 2018 OSCC Board Chair. “These priorities will help ensure a healthy business climate and allow Oregon’s economy to grow.”

The 2018 Legislative Session convenes on February 5, 2018. This is a fast-moving session with quick deadlines. We will be updating you in the coming weeks on legislation as it is introduced.

Chambers are encouraged to adopt these priorities as part of their own legislative agenda. OSCC‘s positions are strengthened as local chambers adopt the agenda, which allows for greater effectiveness during the 2018 Session. Please contact Jessica Chambers if your chamber adopts these priorities.

Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
503-363-2182 
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301

 

The Brewing Tax Battle That No One is Talking About (Yet)
January 18, 2018
Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 
 
Lost in all the talk of ‘cap and trade’ and other major issues facing the Oregon legislature in 2018, a battle is brewing over taxes. 

And no one is talking about it – yet.

As of today, state finances are stable. There are no budget cuts on the immediate horizon, and there’s no reason to believe the legislature won’t have additional resources to spend in the 2018 session.

BUT, the legislature has a looming decision on whether or not to “connect” Oregon’s tax code to the recently passed Federal ‘Tax Cut and Jobs Act.’

The implications are significant to Oregon companies and the state budget.  Connecting to the federal tax cuts will cost state government over $100 million in the current budget cycle. But on the other hand, disconnecting from the federal tax cuts will cost Oregon businesses well over $100 million in otherwise available tax cuts and incentives for capital expenditures.

Specifically, the federal legislation:

  1. Allows 100% depreciation on capital purchases through 2022 (…a $76 million tax benefit to Oregon companies in 2018!)
  2. Allows a 20% deduction of pass-through income for pass-through businesses (…a whopping $182 million state tax benefit to Oregon businesses in 2018!)
Combined with the various tax increases in the Federal ‘Tax Cuts and Jobs Act,’ the net effect of these provisions is a $100 million projected loss in state revenue in 2018 (see chart).

BUT, there is one major caveat. This $100 million projection does not include any tax projections from re-patriated income that comes back to the US due to federal tax incentives. It is too early to project this, but it very well could dampen the state’s revenue loss.

This tax battle will be difficult enough in the current stable budget environment, but it will be doubly difficult if Measure 101 (the $222 million health care tax) fails at the ballot next week. 

Further, the Oregon legislature has a history of denying federal tax benefits to Oregon companies when there are negative budget implications.

OSCC understands that Oregon’s “reconnect” tax policy is good for Oregon businesses. Our intention is that business receives the full benefit of the federal tax provisions on their Oregon tax returns. It’s a good thing to fully incentivize capital investment. We will be watching this issue very closely. 

Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
503-363-2182 
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301
 

OSCC prepares for 2018 Legislative Session

January 5, 2018

Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

As OSCC prepares for the upcoming 2018 Legislative Session, here are a few items to be aware of and ways you and your members can get involved.
 
2018 Legislative Priorities
 
The Government Affairs Council approved the OSCC 2018 Legislative Priorities at their December 15th meeting. This will now go before the Board of Directors for final consideration and approval. 
 
Cleaner Air Oregon
 
We can’t stress enough how important it is for your chamber, and your members, to provide comment to DEQ on the new ‘Cleaner Air Oregon’ regulations. In almost 20 years of advocacy, we haven’t seen regulations that threaten business operations to the extent that these do.

The deadline for comments is Monday, January 22nd.
 
You can view a list of potentially impacted companies here.

Comments may be submitted here or to [email protected]

We want to make it as turn-key as possible for your chamber and your members to submit comment to DEQ.

Attached, please find:

1. Talking points that can help you draft brief comments. – Download here
2. Sample turnkey comments that you can personalize and submit on your letterhead. – Download here
3. OSCC’s formal written comments (which may provide you some additional material for your comments). – Download here

Again, please take a few minutes to engage as a Chamber and get your members engaged.
Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182

 

 
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
503-363-2182 
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301
 
 
 
 
A message from the Oregon State Chamber
1.5.2018
 
 
Cleaner Air Oregon
 We can’t stress enough how important it is for your chamber, and your members, to provide comment to DEQ on the new ‘Cleaner Air Oregon’ regulations. In almost 20 years of advocacy, we haven’t seen regulations that threaten business operations to the extent that these do.

The deadline for comments is Monday, January 22nd.
 
You can view a list of potentially impacted companies here.

Comments may be submitted here or to [email protected]

We want to make it as turn-key as possible for your chamber and your members to submit comment to DEQ.

Attached, please find:

1. Talking points that can help you draft brief comments. – Download here
2. Sample turnkey comments that you can personalize and submit on your business letterhead. – Download here
3. OSCC’s formal written comments (which may provide you some additional material for your comments). – Download here

Again, please take a few minutes to engage as a community.
Best regards,
 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182
 
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
503-363-2182 
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301
 
 
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OSCC GA Council Discusses
Coming 2018 Session
Dear OSCC Members and Colleagues: 

The Government Affairs Council met today for their bimonthly call and discussed issues impacting the upcoming 2018 Legislative Session.
 
1. Cap and Trade
The GA Council will recommend to the OSCC Board of Directors involvement in the Cap and Trade campaign. There are several threats facing local manufacturers on the issue of taxing emissions and tighter air emissions controls. To learn more about the issue, please view the talking points from the Oregonians for Balanced Climate Policy here. For more information on the coming Cap and Trade debate, please refer to our blog post here.
 
2. Potential Changes to SAIF
The GA Council will recommend to the OSCC Board of Directors joining the SAIF coalition to oppose efforts to sweep a portion of SAIF’s surplus in order to pay down the PERS unfunded actuarial liability. Read more about the impact of the SAIF proposal here.
 
3. 2018 Legislative Priorities
Attached is the working draft of the OSCC 2018 Legislative Priorities. Please feel free to review and provide comment. We appreciate your feedback as we begin to shape the priorities for the upcoming 2018 Session. Please send all comments or questions to Alison Hart.

Earlier this week, the Board approved the GA Council’s recommendation to sign and support the Tax is a Tax Coalition. Learn more about this ballot measure initiative here.

Please feel free to share the attached documents with your membership.
 
Best regards,
Alison Hart
Executive Director
503-231-5421 
JL Wilson
Legislative Counsel
503-363-2182
 
 
Oregon State Chamber of Commerce
503-363-2182 
867 Liberty Street NE, Salem 97301
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