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Legislative Alert

Feb-1-2016

 

OSCC Weekly Report: Attached and below, please find your OSCC weekly report for the first week of the legislative session.  Warning:  It shows the monumental challenges that are faced by business.  Please re-purpose in whatever way you see fit and please make sure this is distributed far and wide.

 

Also attached, please find:

 

1-      OSCC revised 2016 Legislative Priorities

2-      New facts & talking points for your members on minimum wage.  This is a superb document to repurpose for your communications to your members.

 

Again, please feel free to distribute these documents far and wide to your networks.

 

OSCC Member Report – February 1, 2016

The February 2016 legislative session is here.  Just one look at the first week’s committee agendas tells the story: Local business is under assault.  Almost nothing of value, and certainly nothing that will grow our local economies and help create jobs, is being prioritized in the 2016 legislative session.

 

Here’s what we know:

  1. A number of Portland-based business groups are trying to negotiate a “deal” on minimum wage that would increase the wage to $13.25 or more per hour by 2022.  This group is working independently of the chambers, AOI, NFIB, Restaurant Association, Food Processors, Farm Bureau, etc.  OSCC and the statewide business community oppose this “deal.”  Our #1 priority during the 2016 session is to defeat the proposed minimum wage hikes.

 

  1. Environmental groups are making a full push for a ‘Cap & Trade’ bill that would increase taxes by $3 billion per year on utilities, manufacturers, wood products companies, and food processors that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon per year.  Such a proposal would devastate Oregon’s major manufacturers and employers, particularly in rural Oregon.

 

  1. Trial lawyers are seeking more goodies from the legislature in the form of increased damage awards and more rights of action against employers. Two bills in particular are being watched carefully by the business community – HB 4136 and SB 1587.  More on these later.

 

  1. Democratic leadership in the legislature will only agree to make “technical” fixes to the recently passed ‘Paid Sick Leave’ mandate.  While the business community was seeking key adjustments to help small business (see SB 1581), this bill will be blocked in favor of minor adjustments that will do little to help local business comply with the new mandate.

 

Key Items for OSCC in coming week (Feb 1 – Feb 5):

  • Public Hearing on Governor’s Minimum Wage Plan (SB 1532).   It’s all hand on deck now.   This is the bill that will increase the minimum wage to $13.25 or more per hour  by 2022.

 

The Senate Workforce & General Government committee will hold a public hearing on this bill at 1pm on Tuesday, February 2nd.  It will be a 2-hour hearing.  First come first served.  OSCC and its members need to show up and be heard.

 

ü Public Hearing on ‘Cap & Trade’ bill (SB 1574).  The ‘Cap & Trade’ bill – a $3 billion tax increase on Oregon manufacturers – will get its first public hearing in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee at 3pm on Tuesday, Feb 2ndOSCC opposes this legislation.

 

ü Public Hearing on Increasing Non-Economic Damage Limits (HB 4136).  This bill is an attempt to resuscitate a failed 2015 bill that would give the trial lawyers an increased non-economic damage cap in wrongful death cases.  The current limit is $500,000.  HB 4136 increases the limit to $1.5 million.  This bill is being opposed strongly by the business community and the health care community (OR Medical Assn, Oregon Hospital Assn, etc).

This bill will get its first public hearing on Tuesday, Feb 2nd, at 1pm in the House Consumer Protection Committee.  OSCC opposes this legislation.

 

ü Public Hearing on New Payroll Records Requirements (SB 1587).  Yet another new regulatory bill for business will be heard in the Senate Workforce Committee on Thursday, Feb 4th.  SB 1587 requires employers to turn over time and pay records upon request and creates a private right of action to enforce.  The bill also gives BOLI new powers to enforce bond orders without seeking authorization from a circuit court.   OSCC Opposes this legislation.

 

ü Public Hearing on SB 1565 could help local business growth.  Authorizes city or county to adopt exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements with cost of initial investment of at least $1 million. Sb 1565 authorizes cities or counties to adopt property tax exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements with cost of initial investment of at least $1 million.  Senate Finance & Revenue Committee – Wed Feb 3rdOSCC Supports this bill.

 

ü No other bills that would help small business grow, help local economies prosper, or generate economic and job growth are currently under consideration.

 

 

 

 

OSCC Member Report – February 1, 2016

The February 2016 legislative session is here. Just one look at the first week’s committee agendas tells the story: Local business is under assault.

Almost nothing of value, and certainly nothing that will grow our local economies and help create jobs, is being prioritized in the 2016 legislative session.

Here’s what we know:

  1. A number of Portland-based business groups are trying to negotiate a “deal” on minimum wage that would increase the wage to $13.25 or more per hour by 2022. This group is working independently of the chambers, AOI, NFIB, Restaurant Association, Food Processors, Farm Bureau, etc. OSCC and the statewide business community oppose this “deal.” Our #1 priority during the 2016 session is to defeat the proposed minimum wage hikes.

 

  1. Environmental groups are making a full push for a ‘Cap & Trade’ bill that would increase taxes by $3 billion per year on utilities, manufacturers, wood products companies, and food processors that emit more than 25,000 metric tons of carbon per year. Such a proposal would devastate Oregon’s major manufacturers and employers, particularly in rural Oregon.

 

  1. Trial lawyers are seeking more goodies from the legislature in the form of increased damage awards and more rights of action against employers. Two bills in particular are being watched carefully by the business community – HB 4136 and SB 1587. More on these later.

 

  1. Democratic leadership in the legislature will only agree to make “technical” fixes to the recently passed ‘Paid Sick Leave’ mandate. While the business community was seeking key adjustments to help small business (see SB 1581), this bill will be blocked in favor of minor adjustments that will do little to help local business comply with the new mandate.

 

 

Key Items for OSCC in coming week (Feb 1 – Feb 5):

ü Public Hearing on Governor’s Minimum Wage Plan (SB 1532).  It’s all hand on deck now. This is the bill that will increase the minimum wage to $13.25 or more per hour by 2022.

 

The Senate Workforce & General Government committee will hold a public hearing on this bill at 1pm on Tuesday, February 2nd. It will be a 2-hour hearing. First come first served. OSCC and its members need to show up and be heard.

 

ü Public Hearing on ‘Cap & Trade’ bill (SB 1574). The ‘Cap & Trade’ bill – a $3 billion tax increase on Oregon manufacturers – will get its first public hearing in the Senate Environment & Natural Resources Committee at 3pm on Tuesday, Feb 2nd. OSCC opposes this legislation.

 

ü Public Hearing on Increasing Non-Economic Damage Limits (HB 4136). This bill is an attempt to resuscitate a failed 2015 bill that would give the trial lawyers an increased non-economic damage cap in wrongful death cases. The current limit is $500,000. HB 4136 increases the limit to $1.5 million. This bill is being opposed strongly by the business community and the health care community (OR Medical Assoc, Oregon Hospital Assoc., etc).

This bill will get its first public hearing on Tuesday, Feb 2nd, at 1pm in the House Consumer Protection Committee. OSCC opposes this legislation.

ü Public Hearing on New Payroll Records Requirements (SB 1587). Yet another new regulatory bill for business will be heard in the Senate Workforce Committee on Thursday, Feb 4th. SB 1587 requires employers to turn over time and pay records upon request and creates a private right of action to enforce. The bill also gives BOLI new powers to enforce bond orders without seeking authorization from a circuit court.  OSCC Opposes this legislation.

 

ü Public Hearing on SB 1565 could help local business growth. Authorizes city or county to adopt exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements with cost of initial investment of at least $1 million.Sb 1565 authorizes cities or counties to adopt property tax exemption for newly constructed or installed industrial improvements with cost of initial investment of at least $1 million. Senate Finance & Revenue Committee – Wed Feb 3rd. OSCC Supports this bill.

 

ü No other bills that would help small business grow, help local economies prosper, or generate economic and job growth are currently under consideration.

 

 

Coalition to Defend Oregon Jobs

Join us in protecting Oregon families, strengthening our state’s economy

It’s appropriate for elected, business and community leaders to work together on solutions that will bring meaningful change for hard-working Oregonians who are struggling and to make Oregon’s economy stronger for everyone. Hiking the minimum wage will only cause more harm. Here’s why:

A dramatic and arbitrary increase in the minimum wage will have wide-ranging and unintended consequences for all Oregonians

  • Cash-strapped school districts will have even less to spend on educating our kids.

o   A survey by the Oregon School Board Association indicates a hike to $13.50 would cost districts $22 per student or $15 million a year.[1]

o   Impacts would affect districts differently. For example, the Hillsboro School District estimates higher wages, if indexed across the district, would cost as much as $4.4 million, which is equivalent to the 51 teachers the district was able to add in 2015.[2]

o   Oregon’s colleges and universities would also take a hit, ranging from $21.75 million in 2017-2019 to $84 million.[3]

  • Local governments will be faced with two choices: Cut services or raise property taxes.

o   Linn County Commissioners estimate the governor’s proposal will cost their county $2.25 million a year.[4]

o   While the numbers are preliminary, the estimated effect on local governments statewide is $50 million per biennium.

  • Low-income families would lose tax benefits and state benefits, such as food stamps and child care assistance.

o   In 2014, the Legislative Revenue Office estimated a single parent with two children could actually have $30 less per month to spend if the wage was increased to $13.10.[5]

o   Oregon higher education officials believe some college and university students who currently hold minimum wage jobs on campus, would see cuts to financial aid.[6]

o   Increased wages would mean fewer people could access health care through the Oregon Health Plan.[7]

  • While advocates for higher wages blame large corporations for income disparities, in Oregon small businesses and customers will be most affected.

o   Oregon businesses with 5 to 49 employees have the highest concentration of employees earning between $9.26 and $13.49/hour and they have the least flexibility to adjust to a dramatic increase in labor costs without layoffs or raising prices.[8]

o   Senior citizens on fixed incomes and low-wage workers will be hit particularly hard when food, day care and other costs rise.

Dramatically increasing the state’s minimum wage threatens thousands of Oregon jobs and a fragile economy

  • Economists are uncertain on exactly how many job losses would occur. One thing is clear: The risks of a 45% to 65% wage hike are too great.

o   One Oregon economist reports job losses in our state could range from 55,000 to 67,000.[9]

  • Employers have already announced they’ll move to another state or reduce employment by shifting from manual to mechanized operations.[10]
  • Oregon has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation yet we continue to lag behind the country in per capita income.
  • Oregon’s poverty rate is higher than the national average and highest on the west coast.[11]
  • Oregon’s unemployment rate continues to be higher than the national average.

o   The unemployment rate for Oregon teens ages 16 to 19 was 27.4%. National estimates indicate youth job losses would rise 1 to 2% for every 10% increase in minimum wage.

A special deal for Portland comes at the expense of other, struggling Oregon communities

  • Oregon’s urban centers are recovering from recession but Oregon’s rural and coastal counties continue to suffer higher unemployment, lost jobs.

o   Unemployment on Oregon’s Coast, for example, is substantially higher than Oregon’s average.

o   Coos, Lincoln and Lane counties have yet to gain back the jobs lost during the recession.

  • Rural counties, communities dependent on tourism and/or natural resource industries have a larger share of minimum wage jobs and would be disproportionately affected by large increases.[12]
  • Oregon’s farms, orchards and ranches account for a large share of minimum wage jobs in rural communities. A dramatic increase in the wage would raise the cost of production and make Oregon’s agricultural products less competitive on global markets.
  • There’s nothing in state law prohibiting Portland area employers from paying workers higher than minimum wage (and many already do).

 

 

 

[1] Oregon School Boards Association survey, Jan. 13, 2016

[2] http://www.hsd.k12.or.us/Portals/0/District/Board/Boardpacket/2015-16/01%20Board%20Meeting%20Packet%20-%20January%2012%202016.pdf

 

[3] “Potential Effects of Increasing Oregon’s Minimum Wage,” Legislative Fiscal Office report, January 2016.

[4] https://s3.amazonaws.com/wapopartners.com/wweek-wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/28122437/doc20160128110956.pdf

[5] “The Impacts of an Increased Minimum Wage,” Oregon Legislative Revenue Office, 7/24/14

[6] LFO report. January 2016.

[7] LFO report, January 2016

[8] “Oregon’s Minimum Wage: Jobs, Facts, Figures and Context,” Oregon Department of Employment, February 2016

[9] http://www.oregonrla.org/Documents/GA/EOC_Minimum%20Wage%20160112.pdf

[10] Joint House and Senate Committee hearing Jan. 14, 2016

 

[11] U.S. Census, American Community Survey 2014

[12] Oregon Department of Employment, February 2016


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