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Oregon Legislature takes up payroll tax

April 14, 2009

By J.L. Wilson, Associated Oregon Industries,
Oregon’s Largest Business Lobby

In a packed Senate hearing room, AOI delivered strong opposition this week to a new proposal that would tax Oregon workers to fund a paid family leave benefits program to be implemented by the state.  The new proposal – SB 966 – would tax Oregon workers at a rate of two cents per hour worked.  The proceeds of the new tax would allow Oregon workers who elect to take family leave to collect weekly paychecks in the amount of $300 for up to six weeks.  In its current form, the new tax and benefits in SB 966 only apply to workers who work in companies with 25 or more employees.

There is widespread business concern and opposition surrounding the new proposal.  AOI delivered testimony on behalf of the majority of Oregon employees who would be unfairly burdened with a new tax, but would have no need for the paid family leave benefit.  In its current form, the proposal relies on over 40 Oregon workers paying the new tax for every one worker who receives the full six weeks of paid benefits.  AOI also expressed concern that no professional actuarial work had been done in advance of the state’s interest in establishing a new insurance program.  AOI members have deep reservations about such paid family leave programs, believing such proposals to be ultimately unsustainable while requiring ever-increasing taxes.

AOI will continue to lead business opposition to SB 966.  In fact, over 20 business organizations have coalesced in opposition to the bill.  The prospects for passage of SB 966 remain unclear.  The battleground for passage of the bill will be the Oregon Senate, where several moderates in both parties have expressed the same reservations about the bill that AOI has.

Associated Oregon Industries,
Oregon’s Largest Business Lobby

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Discuss this article

Dona April 14, 2009

I strongly agree with AOI’s position.

Marvin McConoughey April 14, 2009

As a private citizen, I support the AOI position. Oregon is already a “family friendly” state and needs no further incentive for population growth. Family leave benefits are costly at a time when workers are already heavily burdened to make ends meet.

Dave April 14, 2009

I wonder who is pushing the bill.

brent April 14, 2009

I cannot believe the amount of wasted money, time, energy, paper work and such (except for a few very undeserving people getting paid way too much just to find ways to screw the many) spent on creating problems instead of solving some. I suppose if we the people are stupid enough to allow this then we will get what we deserve. I love Oregon too bad our leaders don’t.

Mike April 14, 2009

Write/Call your reps in the Senate.
Senate President Peter Courtney:
Rick Metsger:
Senate Majority Leader Devlin :

Sybella April 15, 2009

As a business owner who employes entry level workers who generally are unskilled and uneducated, meaning, if they graduated high school that was as far as they went. Many were dropouts. I am very much against that law.

My employees look for every excuse to not come to work, and if they can get paid for it that much better, never mind they have to go sit at Aunt Martha’s bedside and they never even met her. Yes they do. We have a terrible time finding employees to stay on the job or even bother to apply. AS a rule, I send out 40 plus W-2 forms every year and our business neesa 8 to 10 people depending on the season. These by the way are clerking jobs.

We have been shorthanded for month and the applications coming in do not warrant hiring. That is if the applications come in. We have two stores, one is in a county with 20%plus unemployment. Do you know since December of 2008, I have had one person apply for a job.

My business cannot afford to pay people not to work. And truthfully we are considering leaving the state to a more friendly environment.

People who think these laws are so wonderful, really ought to educate themselves about how these things really work. By not educating themselves and making informed decisions, they just cost themselves more.

Sybella April 15, 2009

I just saw the new jobless numbers, that came out yesterday. Guess what no applicants.

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