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U.S. Chamber Comments on Wyden’s Tax Fairness Plan

February 28, 2010 --

U.S. Chamber Comments on Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act
By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C.—The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today said it believes the bipartisan efforts of Senators Wyden and Gregg to begin the process to reform the tax code take steps in the right direction, addressing two major concerns in the tax code – the high marginal corporate tax rate and onerous and burdensome alternative minimum tax.

“While this is a great beginning, with tax reform the devil is always in the details,” said Dr. Martin Regalia, chief economist for the Chamber. “This proposal includes tax increases which are intended to pay for the proposal’s broad benefits but which fall disproportionately on specific sectors, industries, and income groups.”

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AIG to pay $8 million for Oregon losses

February 27, 2010 --

Insurance giant AIG will pay $8 million to settle lawsuit over its role in causing Oregon pension fund losses
Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund filed suit to recoup losses for workers and retirees
BY Oregon State Treasurer Ben Westlund,

SALEM – The Oregon Public Employee Retirement Fund will recover losses that were attributable to a pattern of poor disclosure and bid-rigging by insurance giant American International Group Inc. (AIG), under a settlement announced today by State Treasurer Ben Westlund and Attorney General John Kroger. The company agreed to pay $8 million to settle the lawsuit, which alleged securities fraud. The suit was filed by the State Treasurer’s Office and Public Employee Retirement System Board.

“We go to great lengths to protect Oregonians and their public investments,” said Treasurer Westlund. “This settlement is another example of how your State Treasury is protecting the public good.”

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Serving on a board — Honor or Minefield?

February 26, 2010 --

Board membership – an honor or a financial minefield?
By Dunn, Carney, Allen, Higgins & Tongue

It is often thought of as an honor to be asked to serve on boards of directors.  However, those asked may be in for a surprise when it comes to the personal liability to which they may be exposing themselves.  An astute board prospect would certainly ask to see the articles and bylaws to see the degree to which these documents provide for indemnification and the advancement of expenses that might be incurred as a director.

Do these provisions protect the proposed director?  Maybe, if the circumstances are right.  Otherwise, no.

A recent Delaware court found that a former board member was not entitled to advancement or reimbursement of defense expenses after the board amended the bylaws to eliminate this protection for former directors, even though this amendment was made after the alleged bad acts or omissions occurred and after the former director ceased to be a director.

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EEOC Proposes New Age Discrimination Regulations

February 25, 2010 --

by Dennis Westlind
Stoel Rives LLP, Attorneys at Law

Today the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) releases new regulations that will define employers’ “reasonable factors other than age” or “RFOA” defense under the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (ADEA).  The new regulations would reflect two Supreme Court cases interpreting the RFOA defense: Smith v. City of Jackson (2005) and Meacham v. Knolls Atomic Power Laboratories (2008).  Click here to read the EEOC’s Proposed ADEA Regulations.

The Supreme Court held in Smith that employment practices having a disparate adverse impact on workers age 40 and older may violate the ADEA.  The Court in Meacham then ruled that when a plaintiff proves such an adverse impact, employers have the burden of proving that the practice that caused the adverse impact was based on reasonable factors other than age.”  Since Smith and Meacham, however, there have not been any interpretive regulations under the ADEA to guide employers on the RFOA defense.

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Ron Wyden showcases Bipartisan Tax Reform

February 24, 2010 --

The Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010
By Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Gregg (R-NH)

As Congress readies for the inevitable partisan debate over how best to address the expiring 2001 and 2003 tax cuts, U.S. Senators Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) and Judd Gregg (R-NH) today offered a bipartisan solution. The “Bipartisan Tax Fairness and Simplification Act of 2010” takes a comprehensive approach to reforming the tangled web of nearly 10,000 exemptions, deductions, credits and other preferences that currently clutter the U.S. tax code in order to create a simpler and fairer system that American workers and businesses can more easily navigate. By eliminating many of the tax expenditures that benefit narrow special interests, Wyden-Gregg offers fiscally-responsible tax-relief to the middle class and growth opportunities for American businesses to create jobs and compete globally.

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Could Nike leave Oregon?

February 23, 2010 --

Business News Note: A few years the Governor of Arizona invited Phil Knight for a visit which immediately started rumors that the Governor was luring NIKE to his state.  Now the rumors are awaking again in light of new Measure 66-67 taxes passed on Oregon business that Phil Knight opposed. Below is an editorial from the Idaho Statesman Newspaper.

By Dan Popkey , Idaho Statesman (Boise, Idaho)
February 20, 2010

Nike founder Phil Knight is hopping mad at $727 million in tax increases on corporations and the wealthy in Oregon. Idaho leaders long to catch their rich neighbor’s eye.  Idaho has wooed Nike before – a revelation offered by Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who salivates at the prospect of landing one of the world’s best-known brands.   “Phil Knight was up front: Don’t change the tax code, and if you do, we’re going to do something,” Little said. Knight hasn’t expressed interest yet, Little said. “But we’re gonna call him.”  Knight is No. 24 on Forbes’ list of richest Americans, with a net worth of $9.5 billion. He gave $100,000 to the campaign to defeat Measures 66 and 67. Both tax bills passed Jan. 26.

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9 bills to watch in Special Session

February 22, 2010 --

Oregon NFIB,
The Oregon Legislature is now in its third week of the special session. Feb. 11 was the last day for bills to move out of their committee of origin, except for those in Revenue, Rules, or Ways and Means. This means a number of bills will be left in committee and are effectively dead.  The Legislature passed on any type of kicker reform. Gov. Ted Kulongoski asked legislators before the special session to pass a measure that would permanently place the kicker in a rainy day fund. But lawmakers decided now is not the right time for it.

The Senate Rules Committee passed a measure that would permanently put in place annual sessions. This would be a constitutional change and would require a vote of the people in the November election. Polling recently showed Oregonians in favor of annual sessions. The Senate should vote on the measure later this week.

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US Chamber Report Finds Fault in Copenhagen Plan

February 21, 2010 --

New Energy Institute Analysis: Copenhagen Commitments Fall Short
US Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON, D.C.— A new analysis released today by the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy reveals that even if emissions reduction pledges made under the Copenhagen Accord were adopted, the world would still see a significant rise in greenhouse gas emissions, primarily because of growing emissions from developing countries.  In a new report titled “Copenhagen Accord By-the-Numbers,” the Energy Institute analyzed all 2020 emissions reduction targets submitted by developed and developing nations to the Copenhagen Accord.  Under the Institute’s analysis, even if the targets submitted are adopted, global emissions in 2020 will still be above 2005 levels by as much as 20 percent.

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Businesses must report personal property by March 1

February 20, 2010 --

Oregon Department of Revenue,

SALEM—From anvils to zeppelins, the personal property you use in your business may be taxed.  If you’re a business owner, the time to file your personal property return is March 1, according to the Oregon Department of Revenue.  Oregon law requires that all business owners-even owners of home-based businesses-file a return with their county assessor that lists all business-related personal property.  Personal property includes anything you use for business purposes. It also includes leased equipment, such as copiers.

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Portland: More bikeways = less paved roads

February 19, 2010 --

For Portland, more bikeways mean fewer paved roads
By Dr. Eric Fuits,
EconInternational

The Portland City Council unanimously approved the nation’s most ambitious bike-projects initiative Thursday, with Mayor Sam Adams promising to submit a $20 million “kickstart” funding plan within 30 days.

At the heart of the proposal is nearly 700 miles of new bikeways that would make up a “safer and more comfortable” two-wheeled urban network for new cyclists.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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