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Business fear new Oregon DEQ rules

June 30, 2011 --

AOI Weighs In On Far Reaching DEQ Rules
John Ledger
Associated Oregon Industries

In a far reaching proposal stemming from environmental groups lawsuits, the DEQ is revising its stormwater runoff permitting rules. These permits cover a wide variety of industrial operations that discharge stormwater from their sites to state waters, including manufacturers, transportation companies, scrap yards, landfills, metal plating businesses and timber products industries.

The proposed permitting revisions (1220-Z and 1200-COLS) include extensive and expensive new testing, more monitoring, very stringent standards, all leading to increased control requirements and costs. There are special concerns about the lack of a “permit shield” during a time when legal actions are increasingly seen by some groups as a way to further their agendas or to oppose manufacturing operations generally.

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Matching state tax credit bill heads to Governor

June 29, 2011 --

Matching state tax credit bill moves to Governor’s desk
By State Representative Matt Wand Release,

SALEM—Rep. Matt Wand (R-Troutdale) today led House passage of Senate Bill 817 to help bring jobs to low-income communities across Oregon. The bill, known as the Oregon Low Income Community Jobs Initiative, creates a matching state tax credit to the federal New Markets Tax Credit to further incentivize economic development targeted to these hard-hit areas.

“This bill will help small businesses locate, expand and create jobs where they’re needed the most,” said Rep. Wand, who carried SB 817 on the House Floor and is one of the bill’s chief co-sponsors. “More local jobs mean more revenue to fund vital programs in our communities. In particular, Rockwood needs these jobs.”

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Debt limit war — Please choose your economic poison

June 28, 2011 --

Debt limit war — Please choose your economic poison
By Albert Gallatin–

Currently Washington DC is abuzz with negotiations over increasing the federal debt limit. Sensibly enough, by law the US government can only borrow as much money as the Congress authorizes. The current debt limit of $14.2 trillion dollars was reached on May 15; the US Treasury has been using various tricks to keep making payments since that time, but Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner has warned that by August 2 the US will effectively be unable to pay its bills unless the debt ceiling is increased. Many in Congress, especially the Republicans in the House and Senate, refuse to authorize more borrowing without substantial cuts to government spending both now and in the future.

The debt ceiling battle is a fight over the past.

In 2001 the Congressional Budget Office, the non-partisan accounting branch of Congress, predicted that at this point the US would have a $2.3 trillion surplus. That was because over the course of the 1990s a combination of increased revenues owing to a booming economy and a slowing rate of government growth led to an ever smaller need for the government to borrow to meet its needs.

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Several tax credits survive, but reduced

June 27, 2011 --

Business Tax Credits Get Released from Key Legislative Committee
— Many Tax Credits Spared, But Nearly All Are Trimmed Down
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

The Joint House/Senate Committee on Tax Credits gave final approval to the 2011 package of business tax credits, paving the way for an expedited vote in the House and Senate. The package is contained in HB 3672. Passage is expected. AOI supports the legislation.

The good news is that AOI’s supported credit – the R&D Tax Credit – was saved. So was the Film and Video Tax Credit. The Business Energy Tax Credit was split into a series of smaller, more tailored credits (Renewable Energy Credit, Energy Conservation Credit, etc.). However, none of these credits were spared from budget realities.

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Persuader regulation seen as gift to unions

June 26, 2011 --

U.S. Chamber Blasts Recent Gifts to Organized Labor
By US Chamber of Commerce

WASHINGTON D.C.—U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President of Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits Randy Johnson, issued the following statement today on the Department of Labor’s (DOL) new proposal to vastly expand reporting obligations for employers under the so-called “persuader” regulations and a proposal from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that would shorten the period for union elections:

“When organized labor failed to pass its top priority, the card check bill, we knew it was only a matter of time before the administration used the regulatory process to tilt the playing field in organized labor’s favor during union campaigns. The proposed rules by the DOL and the NLRB, coming one day apart, are a blatant attempt to give unions the upper hand by limiting the ability of employers to exercise their free speech rights. Unions already win more than 60% of all elections held by the Board, undermining any argument that current rules are unfair.

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List of disappearing industries

June 25, 2011 --

Top 10 List of disappearing industries
As reported by Yahoo Finance

1. Video Rental
2. Local Photo processing shops
3. Home moving companies
4. Newspaper Publishing
5. Formal Wear and Costume Rental

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Oregonians misplace $400 Million — state trying to give it back

June 24, 2011 --

New online process offers easy search
By Oregon Department of State Lands

Salem – More than two million individuals, businesses and organizations have lost track of money – a lot of it. Nearly $400 million is available for claim by the owners or their heirs, and it just got easier to find. Oregon’s Department of State Lands (DSL) houses the state’s Unclaimed Property Program, and has recently launched an online claim service to make it easier and faster for citizens to search for and claim their lost money.

Could you have misplaced a check or lost track of a bank account? If so, your money may be waiting for you to claim. Simply check for your name on the unclaimed property website:

The new service also includes details on each listing, and a tracking feature to help claimants monitor the status of their claim.

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Oregon Mass Layoffs decreasing from 2009 highs

June 23, 2011 --

By Oregon Employment Department,

The MLS program designates different types of layoffs. The most general is an MLS Layoff Event, which occurs when at least 50 employees of a particular employer file an initial claim for unemployment insurance benefits in a five week or less period. The program contacts these employers to gather additional information about the layoff event. If the employer verifies that at least 50 employees have been laid off for a period of at least 30 days, these events are designated Extended Mass Layoff Events.

Though the program’s primary focus is on the verified Extended Mass Layoffs and the number of employees caught up in them (separations), most events are not extended events but of shorter duration. Whether brief furloughs, shift rescheduling, maintenance shutdowns, or any of many other possibilities, most MLS Layoff Events are not Extended Events and the total number of all layoff events, extended or shorter, makes a good indicator of the general level of disruptions in the workplace. At the same time, the proportion of Extended Layoffs to all Layoff Events (MLS Realization Rate) can serve as an indicator of the magnitude and duration of job losses occurring due to mass layoff actions.

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Business behavior following Wal-Mart class-action ruling

June 22, 2011 --

U.S. Supreme Court Decision In Wal-Mart Class Action Case Signals A Victory For Large Employers
— Three advice items for business behavior
Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

In a decision released early this morning, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that a proposed sex-discrimination class action with a class of 1.5 million female Wal-Mart employees could not proceed as a class action because the employees could not show that their alleged injuries had a common factual basis.

Although the 1.5 million employees worked in stores throughout the United States, and many of the promotion and compensation decisions they complained about were made by locally based supervisors, the employees alleged that a class action was appropriate because the decisions were not individualized but instead were part of a “corporate culture” at Wal-Mart that actively discouraged women from advancement. The Court disagreed with the premise that these claims could be asserted in a class action, finding that the employees did not adequately explain how millions of discretionary employment decisions made by numerous managers and supervisors all over the country could stem from a common basis, which is necessary for a case to proceed as a class action.

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Wyden promotes GPS Privacy Act

June 21, 2011 --

Legislation Provides Needed Legal Clarity for Use of Geolocation Information
Oregon Senator Ron Wyden,
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – New technologies – like cell phones, smart phones, laptops and navigation devices – are making it increasingly easy to track and log the location of individual Americans, yet federal laws have not kept pace with the technology. The lack of legal clarity surrounding the use of electronically-obtained location data, also known as geolocation information, means that there are no clear rules for how this data can be used, accessed or sold by law enforcement, commercial entities or private citizens. As a result, prosecutors are often unsure when judges will allow geolocation information to be admitted as evidence. Telecommunications companies are often unsure when or if they are allowed to share their customer’s geolocation data with law enforcement. Customers are often unsure when or if their providers are sharing their geolocation data with law enforcement or selling it to other private companies. It is even unclear if law enforcement has the tools to arrest a stalker caught using technology to follow another person or obtain that person’s geolocation information.

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