What's Happening (OSCC Political Observations)
This is the final week for policy committees to pass bills. Any bill not passed out of a policy committee (other than Rules or Revenue) is dead after Friday.
All legislation passed after Friday will have to come from either Rules, Revenue, or Ways & Means. This signals that the 2019 legislature is in the homestretch. It also signals that the decision-making will really come down to just a handful of legislators. Most legislators will have little or nothing to do from this point forward other than casting votes on the floor.
Democrat leadership can pass any bill it wants. The only reason there would need to be any negotiation whatsoever going forward is because:
Activity on Major Issues
What happened last week?
The future of SB 1049 is uncertain. Although it is only a modest cost-saving measure, the unions oppose it in force and it is unlikely that majority Democrats can carry the issue themselves.
Other key issues coming up this week.
Today, the State of Oregon just realized a historic and massive revenue forecast.
Just from the last forecast in March, every metric grew by eye-popping numbers due to a historic influx of revenue over the tax season.
Available resources for the next biennium (2019-2021) grew by $770 million.
The kicker almost doubled in size. It's now projected at $1.4 billion.
Net reserve funds are now nearly $3.5 billion.
The dark clouds are evident, however, as economists are now projecting declines in personal income tax revenues going forward.
Nonetheless, the short term forecast was truly historic and will likely tamp down on talk of additional tax revenue for the remainder of the 2019 legislative session.
Dr. Lee Cowles attended the PBOT presentation we had at the last Education meeting May 1st. He plans to speak in front of City Council against the proposal and is asking for others to back him. If you wish to endorse his concerns, please contact the commissioners with the following suggested wording. The Board will follow up with members to see if they agree that EPCC should also endorse the efforts of Dr. Lee Cowles. If you want to speak directly with Dr. Cowles, you can reach him at 503-255-1506.
Vision Zero’s “NE 102nd Trial Project”, scheduled to begin construction June, 2019, will provide some helpful safety features. However, there are always trade-off’s and consequences from changes. The Project will reduce north and southbound lanes from two to one lane each direction. According to ODOT’s Crash Analysis Division (CAD), this section of 102nd had 253 accidents, 2005 through 2016. The intersections of Prescott and Wygant had 110 of those, of which 76% had at least one injury. CAD analysis shows that 84% of those 110 were accidents due to congestion.
Studies and reports by the states of Maryland, North Carolina, Iowa, and the U.S. Dept. of Transportation concluded that increasing congestion increases the number of accidents. Oregon hasn’t done such a study, but the results were confirmed by the CAD supervisor.
Decreasing the lanes will increase congestion, increase accidents, and increase injuries on 102nd, especially at Prescott and Wygant, and connecting side streets. In addition, Project results will not be known for at least two and a half years, according to Vision Zero, and they already have several “Trial” projects underway.
Therefore, despite the Project’s safety improvements for pedestrians and lower speed limits, the consequences far outweigh the benefits. The following organizations have reviewed the Project, and request that this Project be tabled immediately and re-designed to prevent increased accidents and injuries on 102nd.
Dear OSCC members and colleagues -
A PERS reform proposal has been formally introduced in SB 1049. The plan was unveiled Friday afternoon by Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney, and public hearings on the bill will begin tonight.
SB 1049 includes the following components:
House and Senate Republicans ground the session to a crawl last week as both caucuses employed tactics designed to slow the pace of the session. Senate Republicans simply did not come to the capitol and effectively denied the necessary quorum to conduct Senate business.
Senate Republicans continue to negotiate with Senate President Peter Courtney on a slew of bills and a "go home" package. They hope to be able to come to agreement by Monday.
The result was an atypical slow legislative week in what would have otherwise been an intense week of jockeying as major deadlines loom. May 10th was the deadline for all policy bills to be posted for a work session in order to move forward. By May 24th, all bills must have been voted out of their second chamber policy committee in order to survive. Bills in Rules, Revenue, or Ways & Means will remain 'in play' through the end of session, although many of those committees will be wrapping up their work by mid-June.
HB 3427 includes the following components:
Senate Republicans are trying to force the bill back to committee to lower the tax rate and/or increase the $1 million exemption. It is unclear whether they will be successful.
PERS Reform finally made an appearance (SB 1049). On Friday afternoon, Speaker Kotek and Senate President Courtney unveiled their plan to tackle PERS costs. Under their plan:
The new version of the bill contains the following:
There is still a lot of work to be done, because as written, the -84 amendments will still result in a competitive disadvantage for local Oregon businesses. Our sources tell us that legislators plan to adopt the -84 amendment on Friday this week and pass the bill to Ways & Means. We will keep you updated as the process unfolds or as opportunities to weigh in come up.
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-What's Happening (OSCC Political Observations)
We think that things will start getting more interesting now that the major $2.8 billion business tax passed the House 37-21. Even though the tax bill was muscled through the House, there is still not yet a clear path to the goal.
Because although legislative leadership appears to have made a deal with some business organizations that includes:
...there are still some serious unanswered questions that have real consequences. For instance:
Like we said, it's starting to get interesting.
- A gross receipts tax rate of 0.57% on Oregon sales over $1 million;
- A 35% deduction from taxable sales for labor OR business inputs, whichever is higher;
- An exemption for receipts from sales to a wholesaler or ag cooperative for any sales outside of Oregon; and
- An exemption for groceries (defined as those that qualify for 'SNAP').
Property tax abatements are among our best tools for growing local businesses, particularly in economically distressed areas. HB 2408A puts future investments in local economic development in jeopardy!
HB 2408A imposes public procurement requirements on projects within enterprise zones; specifically, the requirement to pay prevailing wages. Requiring prevailing wage rates on private construction projects offsets the very local economic development incentives provided by tax abatements. By eliminating this incentive, private investors may decide against industrial expansion or may choose a site outside of the state.
This bill already passed the House, and we need your help to let your state Senator know that HB 2408A is bad for Oregon’s local business community.
A public hearing on the bill is scheduled for tomorrow morning at 8:00 am.
Please write your Senator and/or show up tomorrow and tell policymakers that HB 2408A is the wrong policy for Oregon!
OSCC will be issuing an Action Alert for HB 2408 this week. This bill, which will require prevailing wages in privately-funded Enterprise Zone projects of $20 million or more, would be a strong hindrance to much needed economic development projects. Enterprise Zones are one of Oregon's last remaining viable economic development tools.
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