Last week in Salem, dozens of pieces of legislation died for the session as the Oregon Legislature worked through another deadline to move bills out of their committees of origin. There are still about 200 bills under consideration that have passed out of a policy committee and either (1) arrived at the Floors of the State House and Senate or (2) are sitting in the Committees not subject to the regular deadlines: Rules, Revenue, and any Joint Committees.
Tensions are high as members of both political parties attempt to navigate what may be unnavigable waters: a compromise on cap and trade legislation. Most recently, another Cap-and-Trade bill (HB 4167) was introduced in the House Rules Committee that is nearly identical to the primary bill (referred to as the vehicle in the legislative process), SB 1530. Other Cap-and-Trade bills members may be interested in monitoring as the legislature inches towards its March 8 deadline to adjourn are SB 1574 and HB 4159.
This peppering of similar or identical bills throughout the legislature’s committee structure has been a technique used by leadership of both political parties as they have competed for control of the Capitol over the years. At this point, it is not clear whether Cap-and-Trade will end up passing this session as there is every reason to believe Republican legislators will leave the Capitol to deny quorum if one or more of the aforementioned bills is scheduled for a floor vote in either chamber. What is clear is that there are very few groups or individuals left who can influence the potential outcomes or negotiate a truce on this issue. That list may be as short as the leadership of Timber Unity, that of the Oregon Environmental Council or Renew Oregon, House Speaker Tina Kotek, House Republican Leader Christine Drazan, and Governor Kate Brown herself.
To speak up for economic development efforts in our local community, the Chamber submitted written testimony in opposition of HB 4010 to the House Committee on Revenue on Wednesday. The bill would disconnect Oregon from provisions of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017, which set the stage for the establishment of Opportunity Zones in local communities across the country. Simply put, Opportunity Zones are a tax incentive designed to encourage investors to invest capital gains they have made on other investments in a specific economically disadvantaged place within a local community. Through Opportunity Zones, investment capital can be reinvested in equity in local businesses, which creates housing and employment opportunities.
In partnership with Business Oregon, Governor Kate Brown nominated and won designation for 86 Opportunity Zones in the state through an award-winning process that gave Oregon the best-in-the-nation score for identifying zones “positioned to bring positive social, environmental, and economic returns.” In McMinnville, these zones have helped MEDP and our City planning officials in their efforts to facilitate the development of the Rivergate Area – a 28-acre mixed use industrial site. In a highly competitive environment for spurring investment and economic development, these dedicated professionals need every available tool in their toolboxes to maintain the attractiveness of communities like ours as great places to start, locate, or expand businesses.By the time this update is published, HB 4010 will have had an additional Work Session in the House Committee on Revenue, currently scheduled for Thursday, February 20 at 5:30 PM. Despite a high volume of opposition from cities, economic development agencies, certified public accountants, and chambers of commerce across Oregon, it is likely to be amended once more in committee before being passed and sent to the House Floor. For further reference, and the Chamber’s letter to the Committee on this issue, please visit OLIS – the Oregon Legislative Information System. To watch the latest hearing on this bill, please click here.
Join Oregon Department of Revenue representatives for a presentation on Oregon’s new Corporate Activity Tax and a chance to ask questions about and share input on the administrative rules for the CAT. Hosted by the Oregon Department of Revenue, the Strategic Economic Development Corporation (SEDCOR), and the Small Business Development Center (SBDC).