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Nominate a Young Entrepreneur for a $10,000 Scholarship

October 31, 2009 --

Oregon NFIB,

Beginning midnight on Oct. 31, the NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation will be accepting applications for the 2010 Young Entrepreneur Awards. High school seniors with a flair for entrepreneurship are encouraged to apply online for a chance to win a scholarship valued from $1,000-$10,000. The deadline for applying for an award is December 31. If you know an impressive young entrepreneur, please encourage them to apply today.  All selected scholarship winners must be nominated by an NFIB member, and we are currently seeking more NFIB members who are willing to get involved with this year’s group of award winners. If you are interested in sponsoring a young entrepreneur, please sign up to be a nominator here.

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House Health Care Bill Explained in Business Terms

October 30, 2009 --

The House of Representatives Releases Its Health Care Reform Bill
Barran Liebman LLP
Oregon Law Firm,

Today, the House of Representatives released its reconciled Health Care Reform bill providing employers with half the blueprint for what their group health plans will look like in the future. The House bill is very similar to the Senate Finance Committee bill issued a few weeks ago providing a fairly clear blueprint for the future of American Health Care. We should expect to see a reconciled Senate bill in the near future.  The important issues for employers related to the House Health Care bill are as follows (most are effective January 1, 2013):

Employer Mandate

The House bill provides an employer mandate for businesses with an annual payroll of greater than $750,000. Employers with annual payroll of $750,000 who do not elect to provide health benefits must contribute 8 percent of payroll to a health care fund. Employers with payroll of greater than $500,000 but less than $750,000 have a graduated tax requirement if they elect not to provide compliant health care.

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Oregon, California among worst job cities by comparrison

October 29, 2009 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

As the Bureau of Labor chart shows, Oregon and California Metro-area cities are suffering with higher than average unemployment rates. These two states are rare compared to other states which either are improving better than the national average or at least have a few city areas that are improving better than the national average.   Oregon and California are dominated by these job loss metro-cities.  Portland was ranked the 17th highest job loss city which lost 5.9% of it’s jobs last year. There were 99 of 100 biggest US cities that suffered declines.

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More good news: U.S. Goods Rise for Fourth Time

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Bloomberg reports, “Orders for U.S. durable goods rose in September for the fourth time in the past six months, a sign factories are helping ring in an economic recovery.The 1 percent increase in bookings for goods meant to last several years matched the median estimate of economists surveyed by Bloomberg News and followed a 2.6 percent drop the prior month, Commerce Department data showed today in Washington. Excluding transportation equipment, orders climbed 0.9 percent, exceeding the survey median. “

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Genetic NonDiscrimination — It is now the law

October 28, 2009 --


GINA Requires Employers to Post Notice, Review Policies
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law
Dennis Westlind, Portland,

The Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act (GINA) takes effect November 21, 2009.  Is your workplace ready?  Employers will soon be required to post a notice stating that they do not discriminate on the basis of genetic information, under proposed regulations interpreting GINA.

If you don’t already have one, click here to download the full “EEO is the Law” poster, which describes all of the Federal laws prohibiting job discrimination based on race, color, sex, national origin, religion, age, equal pay, disability and genetic information.  If you already have a copy of “EEO is the Law,” then you can download and print the “EEO is the Law Supplement,” which contains GINA information.  (If you don’t want to print it yourself, or if you need the poster in Arabic, Chinese or Spanish, click here to order a copy from the EEOC.)

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Poll shows widespread gloom in the American public

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From an NBC/Wall Street Journal Poll:

81% say we are a part of a longer-term economic decline
27% think the country is headed in the right direction
65% say they feel less confident that life for their children’s generation
60% doubt the Iraq war will come to a successful conclusion.

Continue Reading

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Oregon Tax Bill Rises at Local Level, Property.

October 27, 2009 --

By Oregon Tax News,

Often overlooked, smaller tax increases will be facing thousands of Oregon homeowners, in addition to possible new taxes in Multnomah County, Hood River and Ashland.

Recent local proposals include an extension of the Ashland meals tax, along with increased driver registration fees and higher property taxes in Multnomah County.   Some local cities, like Hood River, will be wrestling with a local gas tax increase. These smaller taxes have lost attention in light of the much larger $733 million Oregon tax referendum measures approaching the January ballot.

Property Tax Increases despite recession, home value drop

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Housing Starts: Media mixed messages

October 26, 2009 --

By Bill Conerly, Conerly Consulting LLC, Businonmics

I try not rant in this blog.  I really try.  But here’s the Wall Street Journal headline:  “Housing Starts Rise, but Remain Subdued.”  On the other hand, CNBC says, ” Producer Prices, Housing Starts Post Surprise Drops.” Huh?  Did housing starts rise, or did they drop?  Turns out, they effectively did neither.  Oh, there was a tiny change from last month to this month, but really, really tiny, so much that they were effectively flat.  Look at the chart and see if you don’t agree.

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Over-the-Year Job Losses Top 100,000

October 25, 2009 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 11.5 percent in September from the revised August figure of 12.0 percent. September’s rate was the lowest since the 10.7 percent rate in February, and was down from the high of 12.2 percent in May. Nonetheless, the rate is still very high by recent historical standards. By comparison, the annual average Oregon unemployment rate for all prior years dating back to 1986 ranged between a low of 4.9 percent in 1995 and a high of 8.1 percent in 2003. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 6.8 percent in September 2008.

The decline in Oregon’s unemployment rate in September was due to a drop of 11,080 in the seasonally adjusted number of unemployed individuals. The civilian labor force (seasonally adjusted) was close to being unchanged, edging down by 1,129 over the month.

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State Treasurer has treatment for cancer recurrence

October 24, 2009 --

State Treasurer Ben Westlund receiving treatment for recurrence of cancer, is confident of recovery.  The flare-up was detected early and Westlund remains at work while undergoing therapy
BY State Treasurer Office,

SALEM – Oregon Treasurer Ben Westlund is receiving treatment to combat a recurrence of cancer, he disclosed today in a letter to his staff at the Oregon State Treasury. Westlund, 60, who previously had lung cancer, receives regular scans to quickly detect any return. He said he started treatment earlier this year, but remains on the job and expressed confidence the treatments will be successful.

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