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AOI forecasts seven union agenda items

August 31, 2010 --

By J.L. Wilson,
By Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

Last week, The Standard, Portland Business Alliance and Associated Oregon Industries hosted Glenn Spencer, Executive Director of the Workforce Freedom Initiative, US Chamber of Commerce. Mr. Spencer gave a presentation to members on the federal legislative and regulatory agenda of Organized Labor.

Organized Labor facing major challenges. Unions across the US are facing major challenges which are driving its legislative agenda. The primary challenge faced by unions today is declining membership, which has fallen from 35 percent of the workforce in the 1950’s to just over 12 percent today.  Most notably, the failure of unions to recruit private sector workers has translated into just 7.2 percent union membership in the private sector compared to 37 percent unionization among government workers. In addition to membership problems, most union pension plans are now in “endangered” or “critical” status, meaning they will have difficulty paying out promised benefits.

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Portland is largest “no sales tax” city. How we compare.

August 30, 2010 --

Portland is one of the largest cities that has no sales tax
By Oregon Tax News,

A recent report released by the Washington D.C. based Tax Foundation, shows how major metropolitan cities compare with sales tax.  Portland and Anchorage, Alaska have the title of the largest cities in the country with no sales tax. The study evaluated cities with population greater than 200,000, which there are 107 in the country.  Behind Portland came Honolulu, Hawaii with 4.5% and a variety of cities in Virginia at 5.0% combined sales tax.  Oregon, Alaska, Delaware, Montana and New Hampshire do not have a statewide general sales tax.  The state with the highest sales tax is Tennessee (9.4%), followed by with California (9.08%) and Arizona (9.01%).  Of the major metropolitan areas, the cities with the highest sales tax were Birmingham, AL and Montgomery, AL at 10%.

States with highest sales tax

  1. Tennessee (9.4%)
  2. California (9.08%)
  3. Arizona (9.01%)
  4. Louisiana (8.69%)
  5. Washington (8.61%)
  6. New York (8.52%)
  7. Oklahoma (8.33%)
  8. Illinois (8.22%)
  9. Arkansas (8.10%)
  10. Alabama (8.03%)
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Oregon Ad Watch: Walmart blasts Office Depot, Egg promo

August 29, 2010 --

August Oregon Ad Watch
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Two full-page advertisements stood out in the month of August for the state’s largest newspaper.

First, Wal-Mart placed a full-page ad going head-to-head with Office Depot by listing 16 school items by price comparison.   The key sell was highlighting the 45% savings and trying to nab the coveted back-to-school market.

Second, in response to the nationwide egg recall the egg farming industry put out a full-page ad.  The key phrase in their simple letter states, “The potential affected eggs, which make up less than 1% of all US eggs, have been removed from store shelves.   You may be wondering if eggs are safe to eat.   Yes they are.”

See larger size of ads below.

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Business Poll: Gov’t spending trumps unemployment

August 28, 2010 --

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Magazine business poll.

47.1% — Government spending
39.7% — Unemployment rate/overall health of the economy
3.5% — Energy and the environment
2.2% — National security
2.9% — Social issues
4.6% — Other

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Economists proven right on Measure 66-67 aftermath

August 27, 2010 --

Latest state economic forecast and impacts of Measures 66 & 67
By Economist Dr. Eric Fruits,

This is a “told you so” story about Measures 66 & 67 …

In December 2009, Randall Pozdena and I published research forecasting the impacts of Measures 66 and 67 on Oregon employment (a copy of the study is attached).  Our study was based on thorough research of peer-reviewed literature and a quantitative analysis of the taxes and economic growth across the U.S. and over a long period of time.  We concluded that the tax measures would have a significant negative impact on Oregon’s employment picture, as shown in Exhibit 1 of the report.

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Oregon union membership rebounding

August 26, 2010 --

By Tony Wendel
Oregon Employment Department

In Oregon, the union membership rate – the percent of wage and salary workers who were members of a union – rose slightly from 16.6 percent in 2008 to 17.0 percent in 2009. The rate increased even though the number of wage and salary workers belonging to unions decreased by about 9,000 (4%) due to a much larger decrease in the total number of wage and salary workers of about 95,000 (6%).

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Business Crunch: Every $600+ vendor needs 1099

August 25, 2010 --

“This Onerous Provision Will Cost Jobs.” A Good Letter Urging Repeal of New 1099 Rules
By Joseph M. Wallin
Davis, Wright, Tremaine LLP
NW law firm

Many, many business groups and writers have come out against the new 1099 rules which were contained in section 9006 of the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” (P.L. 111-148) (the health care reform bill). I am not aware of any commentators who are not urging the repeal of the new rules. Why? Well, because they are onerous and ridiculous.

If you are in business, and you buy goods in the course of your business, you are going to have to issue Forms 1099 to the businesses from which you buy more than $600 in goods during the year.

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Government leads advertising spending in many markets

August 24, 2010 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Kantar Media shows where ad spending has increased and decreased in select industry markets.   The time represents from Jan-May 2009 period and compares ti to Jan-May for 2010.   Government has been increasing while travel has been decreasing.

(Data source is Kantar Media.  Chart by OSBA).

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Affirmative Action Rules hidden in Financial Reform Bill

August 23, 2010 --

Surprise! Wall Street Reform Bill Contains Massive New Affirmative Action Requirements
Written by Wayne D. Landsverk
Miller Nash LLP,
Oregon and Washington Law Firm

With all the media attention given to the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, there was almost no mention of a far-reaching provision (Section 342) that imposes new diversity requirements on businesses in or connected to the financial industry.
Section 342 requires that within six months of July 21, 2010, each of the following federal agencies establish its own Office of Minority and Women Inclusion (“OMWI”):

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Four new workplace regulations on their way

August 22, 2010 --

Workplace Regulations Are On The Way
By Tom Donohue,
President and CEO, U.S. Chamber of Commerce

1.  The Employee Free Choice Act
2  Labor Dept. rules for employers justifying worker classifcation
3.  New OHSA plan forcing employers to track injuries
4.  Federal agencies to union-only labor agreements

The Employee Free Choice Act—better known as card check—could be making a comeback. In a recent interview, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka said, “I think you’ll see the Employee Free Choice Act come up again. I think you’ll see it, probably, before the end of the year.” If Trumka’s prediction comes true, it couldn’t happen at a worse time. With unemployment at 9.5%, it makes absolutely no sense to enact job-killing legislation that will also take away workers’ rights to a secret ballot in unionization votes.

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