Meandering Along

Though the legislative pace has again resumed a normal cadence, with policy committees once again scheduled, this session so far appears to pose few changes or challenges to general business operations. There are a few exceptions highlighted below, but in general, this session has primarily showcased the unspectacular work of balancing the budget and aligning with policy objectives that relate to housing, programs for the homeless, and semiconductor incentives.

Governor Kotek began putting the resources from HB 2001, which passed last month, to use by allocating $80 million to large cities and counties to fund plans to address homelessness. The majority of the investments from HB 2001 are yet to come as the package provided a total of $200 million for the state’s housing and homelessness crisis.

Governor Kotek also recently stated her official position on gaming expansion in Oregon in a letter to Oregon’s Federally recognized tribes and other stakeholders. Kotek made clear her stance remains one casino, per tribe, on reservation land and that she opposes the expansion of gaming in any form. That position, which has been the stance of Oregon’s last several governors, halts the current efforts to open a casino in Medford by the Coquille Tribe and a casino in Salem by the Siletz Tribe.

Concerning Issues We’re Tracking

HB 3568 – This would broadly limit employers’ use of quotas and performance metrics in warehouse and distribution center operations. Oregon OSHA and BOLI already enforce Oregon’s strict workplace safety and rest break laws.

Support Encouraged

HB 2433 – Increases exempt amount and filing threshold for purposes of the corporate activity tax (CAT). Raising the CAT exemption threshold for small businesses from $1 million to $5 million will provide much-needed tax relief to thousands of small businesses throughout Oregon.

HB 2624 – Allows additional estate tax exclusion of $1 million. Adjusts for inflation. Adding another $1 million to the exemption level, and indexing that for inflation going forward, means that Oregon will no longer be the worst in the nation for estate taxes.

HB 3205 – This bill would allow employers to begin to offer hiring and retention bonuses again as current state pay equity laws have made these bonuses legally tenuous. This bill will advance.

Content contributed by Bravio Communications, Salem Chamber staff and OSCC.

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