OSCC Legislative Report – January 7, 2016
First of all, Happy New Year to you!
From a state business policy perspective, 2016 is going to be an extraordinarily challenging year for local chambers and our local businesses.
Even though the 2016 Oregon legislative session is limited to 35 days, we are seeing enormously challenging and costly legislation emerge.
And even after the legislative session concludes, we will then have to turn our attention to big ticket ballot measures dealing with taxes and minimum wage.
2016 will be a pivotal year for Oregon’s local chambers. Our level of organization and grassroots involvement will need to take another giant leap forward.
Key Items for OSCC in coming week (thru Jan 15):
Minimum Wage. One final round of minimum wage public hearings will be held on the evening of Thursday, January 14th, at 6pm. Just like last year, Chamber members across Oregon must mobilize to attend and testify at this hearing.
Our friends at the Oregon Farm Bureau have reserved Room 50 again for business and chamber members to watch the hearing and testify. We will buy pizza and bring a flat of water for those who come out.
New rule this year: one person, one signature. We won't be able to sign up our members in a list, so we would ask those of you coming to encourage them to come to the Capitol at 5:00 - 5:30. We have Room 50 reserved beginning at 3 pm and everyone can leave their stuff there.
Testimony will again be limited to 2-3 minutes per person, so brief, personal testimony on the impacts of an increased minimum wage will be most effective.
Our testimony was well received last year, and we matched the unions 1:1. OSCC made a huge difference. This is likely our last chance for a public hearing on the issue, so it would be great to have another good turnout. It will likely be a packed house again.
Cap & Trade. Please see the attached list of companies that will be potentially affected by ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation in 2016. We have not seen the 2016 ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation yet, but we have reason to believe it will target all companies with emissions of 25,000 metric tons of carbon emissions.
With a minimum tax of $10 per ton, it’s easy to calculate the potential tax impacts for your members who are on this list.
It might be a good thing for you to alert the members you see on this list that they may be subject to taxation under the new ‘Cap and Trade’ legislation we are expecting in February.
Statewide Lodging Tax Increase. Our friends at the Oregon Restaurant and Lodging Association will be pushing the 2016 Legislature for an increase in the statewide lodging tax from 1% to 2% to be used for tourism promotion. They have asked if OSCC will consider putting this issue on our 2016 legislative agenda.
Please see the attached materials. The OSCC will consider this issue as we consider revising our legislative agenda on January 22nd.
Climate Change Legislation. If you haven’t already, please take a minute and read this article:
This deal between the utilities and environmental groups was made without business involvement. At this time, business groups are analyzing both the policy and the politics. This deal is being made against a backdrop of similar ballot measures filed for November 2016 and a full-throttle ‘cap and trade’ legislative proposal for 2016 (see above). The utilities (PGE and PacifiCorp) are now actively trying to solicit business support for this proposal. Please stay tuned as OSCC ascertains how business groups are reacting to this proposal.
Other Critical Information:
Initiative Petition 28 (Corporate Tax Increase). Please see the attached updated talking points for local chambers of commerce.
Our goal is for every OSCC member to do three things: (1) get a presentation from the campaign to oppose this tax increase, (2) sign up to join the coalition to oppose this tax increase, and (3) get this information out to all chamber members so that they can also join the coalition against this tax increase.