2015 was a tough year for business at the Capitol. Chambers of Commerce across the state are remaining vigilant in the coming 2016 Legislative session. Legislative liaison for the Oregon State Chamber of Commerce (OSCC), J.L. Wilson, said the primary goal for this “lightning-fast” session is to not add on to what was created in 2015.

The Salem Chamber and the OSCC have collaborated to give a voice to the local business communities throughout Oregon in support of policies that enable business growth, employment retention and creation. This was done because of the belief that a healthy business climate, and the jobs that such a business climate creates, are the keys to building up local communities and making them prosperous.

The Salem Chamber’s 2016 Legislative priorities represent the legislative priorities of Salem’s local business community and the nearly 1,230 members of the organization, and are in alignment with the chambers of commerce around Oregon as represented by the OSCC.

The priorities are also a reflection of the major cost and regulatory challenges that local business will have to grapple with as a consequence of the 2015 legislative session. Those new challenges include a new sick leave mandate, a “ban the box” mandate that will change hiring processes, new costs imposed by a low carbon fuel mandate, a mandatory retirement program that all local businesses will be mandated to administer, and new regulations surrounding employer/employee discussions of wages.

For 2016, the Salem Chamber and OSCC ask that the Oregon Legislature “pause” on any additional measures that would impose new cost or regulatory challenges for local businesses, in order to give them time to adjust to the new regulatory environment imposed by the 2015 Legislative Session.

Current priorities, as voted on by the Salem Chamber’s Board of Directors, is as follows:

The Salem Chamber and OSCC respectfully request the 2016 Legislature to pass:

  • Legislation that would ease compliance with the new paid sick leave law
  • Legislation that empower employers to favorably “move the needle” in favor of job creation by deregulating the current economic environment
  • Legislation that provides stable funding to mass transit agencies

The Salem Chamber and OSCC respectfully request the 2016 Legislature to refrain from:

  • Passing legislation to increase the state’s minimum wage
  • Passing legislation to remove the statewide minimum wage local preemption
  • Passing legislation that would increase environmental regulatory costs for
    utilities and manufacturers
  • Passing legislation that would increase insurance costs for businesses and
    health care providers
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