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Lawmaker: Land reform, water, forests are key to business recovery

December 31, 2010 --

In the first of a series of guest editorials by Oregon lawmakers, state Representative Mike Schaufler offers some suggestions on how to get Oregon’s economy back on track. Schaufler was chairman of the Business and Labor Committee of the House of Representatives in the last session of Legislature.
By Oregon NFIB,

NFIB Guest Opinion:
Representative Mike Schaufler

Oregon is still in the deepest recession since the Great Depression. Over the past two years or so, I’ve been asked by thousands of Oregonians what state government is going to do about it. The 2009-10 Oregon Legislature took three actions that I think will help. In 2009 bills were passed:

– To upgrade Oregon’s transportation infrastructure
– Provide and make accessible health insurance to every child and tens of thousands of low-income adults
– Invest in low-income housing.

What we did not do is spend, cut or tax Oregon out of this recession. The 2011-13 Legislature will not spend, cut or tax Oregon out of this recession either. Like always, Oregon will have to work its way out of recession.

How will we do that?

Oregon needs policies that recognize and take advantage of our abundant and sustainable natural resources. We must take far greater advantage of the army of working families who know how to responsibly and sustainably manage these resources as well.

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Businesses can skip penalty if withholding payment application in by Dec.31

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Businesses won’t be penalized if they submit withholding payment application by December 31
By Oregon Department of Revenue,

SALEM—If you’re one of 60,000 Oregon businesses that recently filed an electronic funds transfer (EFT) application with the Oregon Department of Revenue, not to worry: you won’t be penalized if your application isn’t processed by December 31.  EFT allows businesses to transfer their quarterly withholding tax electronically to the department and to the IRS instead of mailing checks. In Oregon, 40-50 percent of businesses still pay by check.

Why the fuss now? The IRS recently changed its EFT requirements. Businesses with more than $2,500 in withholding tax each quarter must now pay it electronically. Oregon will require those businesses to electronically pay state withholding starting January 1, 2011.

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Oregon housing hit by triple bad news

December 30, 2010 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Oregon foreclosures hit double digit drops in November (-13.37). The drop was slightly better than the national average, but for the year Oregon foreclosures were over 30% worse than the national average according to RealtyTrac. Additionally housing prices and housing sales dropped in the Portland Metro area according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. Another indicator of falling home prices is the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index which showed Portland home prices falling 1.3 percent in October from the previous month. Home sales dropped 28.7% in November according to the Regional Multiple Listing Service. The news story from KGW News below goes into greater detail:

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Push begins to create an Oregon State Bank

December 29, 2010 --

By Charles P. “Chuck” Jones, CFP

A bill (LC12O6) is going to be presented to the Oregon legislature early in 2011. The Oregon State Bank is the creation of the union-backed group, Oregon Working Families Party working in conjunction with Portland State University. Oregon Working Families leadership is led by Co-Chairs Jeff Anderson, Secretary-Treasurer UFCW local 555, and Barbara Dudley as Chair of the Portland chapter.

The State Bank will accept deposits of public funds to make, purchase, guarantee, or hold certain loans and to serve as custodian bank and directs the state treasurer to deposit monies in bank in amount treasury determines as necessary to allow bank to fulfill its duties. The bill directs excess income of the bank to go to the OR Rainy Day fund. The bank will be run by a board headed up by the governor, the treasurer, and the BOLI chairman. The group is promoting that it will be unbiased, since there will be an advisory board and have an independent structure . However, the advisory board is appointed by the main board, including the governor, treasurer, and BOLI chairman.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Realty show celebrity sues Washington County

December 28, 2010 --

Little People Stars Sue Washington County building inspectors
By Oregon Tax News

Little People, Big World stars Amy and Matt Roloff decided to sue Washington County for $200,000 and legal costs after John Wheeler, a Washington County building services inspector, allegedly trespassed on their Hillsboro farm on July 16, 2010. The complaint holds that Amy Roloff suffered severe distress after confronting Wheeler for trespassing. The plaintiffs named Wheeler’s supervisor, Jay Winchester, a co-defendant.

A crew filming the Roloffs’ reality television series caught the encounter and broadcasted it on network television.

Wheeler contends that he acted on his supervisor’s instructions, which permitted him to enter their property without seeking permission. KPTV reports that he allegedly passed numerous “No Trespassing” signs, passed a locked gate and ignored a call box he could have used to contact the family for permission to enter the property.

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Oregon Court rules on medical malpractice case

December 27, 2010 --

Oregon Court of Appeals limits comparative fault defense in medical malpractice cases
Byby Shemia Fagan, Ater Wynne,
Oregon Law Firm,

This month, the Oregon Court of Appeals addressed the comparative fault defense in the context of medical malpractice cases in Son v. Ashland Community Healthcare Services.   Sara Burns died while under the medical care of Ashland Community Healthcare Services (“ACHS”) after she attempted suicide by overdosing on various drugs. Her mother, as personal representative of Sara’s estate, brought a wrongful death action against ACHS alleging professional negligence in its treatment of Sara. ACHS raised the comparative fault defense, alleging that Sara failed to inform ACHS of her ingestion of a particular drug that would have changed ACHS’ treatment plan and likely prevented her death. The jury returned a verdict for the plaintiff for $740,000, after which the court reduced the award by a percentage because of Sara’s comparative fault. Plaintiff appealed.

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Chart: Oregon Income Growth Vs. Other States

Google: Nation’s largest real estate purchase 2010

December 25, 2010 --

Consider it the biggest Christmas shopping purchase of the season as Google spends $2 billion to purchase a building in New York that takes up an entire block.   The building is an amazing 2.5 million square feet in Manhattan New York.  Thanks to a depressed real estate market the price per square foot was below traditional market rates.  This is the largest real estate purchase for single building in America in this year.    Happy Holidays to Google and its employees and your new Christmas gift.   View the video to see  the new Google building.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Transcript: Sen. Wyden Business Summit remarks

December 24, 2010 --

Senator Ron Wyden
Oregon Business Summit Remarks

December 13, 2010

When we held the first Oregon Business Summit in 2002, Duncan Wyse and I thought success would be having enough people to fill a couple of booths at a Denny’s. In fact, when an ice storm came out of nowhere we thought we were jinxed.

When the doors opened, like this morning, there were hundreds of business people from every corner of the state. Today, this is the place to be. From the beginning, the key principles of this summit have been reconciliation and compromise with as much bipartisanship as we could get our hands on. It’s still that way. Let me give you an example. When I arrived at the Pendleton Round-Up last September after a bone-crunching, 13-hour flight from Washington, D.C, a local rancher came up to me, shook my hand and said: “You are doing great back there in DC, guy. Keep up the great work, Greg!” Now, obviously, he thought I was Congressman Greg Walden. Not wanting to pass up the chance to hitch a ride on Greg’s coattails and advance the cause of bipartisanship, I said: “Hey, thanks a lot. And I like working with Ron Wyden, too.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon workers break two million mark for first time!

December 23, 2010 --

Civilian Labor Force Tops Two Million
By Oregon Employment Department,

Oregon’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 10.6 percent in November, essentially unchanged from 10.5 percent in October. The rate has been between 10.5 and 10.7 percent for the most recent 13 months. Oregon’s unemployment rate was 10.7 percent in November 2009.

The month marked the first time that Oregon’s civilian labor force surpassed two million people. The exact figure was 2,001,060 in November, which was up from 1,984,209 in October. It is likely that population growth in the state has been one of the primary drivers of recent growth in Oregon’s labor force. Economic expansion, following the depths of the recession in mid-2009, is also a likely contributor.

In November, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 6,300, following a revised gain of 6,700 in October. Private-sector employment added jobs on a seasonally adjusted basis in five of the past six months. Since its recent low point of 1,290,300 in March, private payroll employment gained 17,700 jobs, or 1.4 percent. It accounted for nearly all of the seasonally adjusted job gains in November and over the past 12 months.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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