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Mattress World & Typhoon! close due to tax and labor issues

February 29, 2012 --

Mattress World and Typhoon! hit tax & labor issue woes 
By Oregon Tax News,

Alleged tax and labor law violations potentially costing millions of dollars are forcing Mattress World and Typhoon! Inc., two well-known Oregon retailers, to close their doors. Roughly 300 jobs will be lost.

In the case of Mattress World, the state of Washington slapped the Portland-based company with a $1.7 million unpaid tax bill for failing to pay sales tax on items delivered and installed in Washington. Several Mattress World stores are located just across the border from Washington, where shoppers can easily take advantage of Oregon’s no sales tax. According to a KATU news report, however, Washington requires out-of-state companies to pay sales and other taxes when they operate as a “nexus”—meaning the company resides out-of-state but delivers products in Washington. That news allegedly caught Mattress World owner Sherri Hiner by surprise in 2009 when she was first notified that her company qualified as a Washington business.

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Despite record revenue, Portland road budget is broke

February 28, 2012 --

Eric Fruits,
Econ International
Oregon economist

The Oregonian seems to have picked up on our earlier posts about misplaced priorities and self-inflicted budget woes at the Portland Bureau of Transportation.

The story so far can be told in four pictures.

1. Record revenues at the Portland Bureau of Transportation. “Discretionary” money has almost doubled since 2000. The city’s excuse that there it has no wiggle room in budgeting simply is not true.

2. A paving backlog that stretches to San Francisco.Portland’s paving backlog has grown by more than 500 miles since 1999. By 2008, Portland had a backlog big enough to pave a two lane road from Pioneer Courthouse Square to San Francisco. Taking the philosophy that a problem doesn’t exist if it can’t be measured, the city stopped calculating the road paving backlog in 2008.

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Business Filing Fee notices look official but aren’t from the state

February 27, 2012 --

Beware of Oregon Business Filing Notice
By Oregon better Business Bureau

Recent reports to Better Business Bureau indicate that Corporate Regulatory Committee, based in Salem, OR, is sending official-looking “Corporate Annual Report” notices to businesses requesting $238 to renew filings with Oregon Secretary of State.

Business owners are not required to reply or submit money to Corporate Regulatory Committee. According to Oregon Secretary of State Corporation Division, business owners can search their business registrations for free and renew directly online for $100. Corporate Regulatory Committee may be sending out solicitations to file on behalf of companies and collect service fees of $138.

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Chamber promotes Highway Bill to the States

February 26, 2012 --

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Free Enterprise Blog

Potholes, cracks, crumbling asphalt, and growing congestion – we experience them in our daily commutes, taking the kids to school, and on family roadtrips. The neglect of our infrastructure is costly, as Sheryll Poe reports for

“The consequences of inaction on infrastructure are profound. The U.S. Chamber’s Transportation Performance Index shows that the steady decline in the quality of surface, air, and water transportation systems costs the U.S. economy $1 trillion a year in lost economic growth. In just over five years, U.S. infrastructure has plummeted from No. 1 to No. 15 in the World Economic Forum’s economic competitiveness ranking.”

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Portland Alliance makes early Metro endorsement

February 25, 2012 --

Alliance board of directors endorses Sam Chase for Metro Council seat
By Portland Business Alliance

The Portland Business Alliance board of directors today announced its endorsement of Sam Chase in the race for Metro Council District 5 that represents Northeast Portland.

“The Alliance has worked with Sam on a number of issues over the years during his time as a Portland City Council staff member and we feel like he has a strong understanding of the issues that impact job creation and economic growth,” said Mitch Hornecker, chair of the Alliance’s Government Relations Executive Committee.

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Oregon passes Facebook fix. What it means for Apple

February 24, 2012 --

Oregon learns a key lesson in job creation with Facebook issue
By Oregon Prosperity Project

The Oregon Legislature just passed the “Facebook bill.”  We are celebrating its passage this week because it was one of the Oregon Prosperity Project’s job-creating priorities going into the 2012 legislative session.

It’s an issue we’ve been talking about since last October because it so clearly demonstrates a key principle for economic growth: Government does not create jobs, but it can provide an environment of tax and regulatory certainty that attracts investment and job creation.

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What growth will be like in 2012 & 2013

February 23, 2012 --

Bill Conerly, Conerly Consulting, Businomics,
Oregon economist

I’ve updated my economic forecast, and it’s not as favorable as last quarter’s projection. I continue to see upward pressure on the economy this quarter and next from the lagged impacts of the Federal Reserve’s second round of quantitative easing. However, I’ve offset most of that with a hit to exports and attitudes from the European financial crisis. The result is a very boring forecast.

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Greg Oden’s future

February 22, 2012 --

Oden: We Hardly Knew Ye
By Patrick Emerson’s
Oregon Economics Blog

Another sad chapter in the story of Greg Oden:

“Although Blazers executives would not say this is the end of the Oden era, the chances Oden plays again in Portland, or anywhere in the NBA, are doubtful at best. Of his five knee surgeries, three of them have been microfracture procedures, including Monday’s surgery in Vail, Colo. Microfracture is the most invasive and serious of knee procedures, and involves making tiny fractures in the knee bone to generate bleeding and stimulate new cartilage growth. No NBA player has come back to play after undergoing three microfracture surgeries.”

I feel terrible for the guy but I feel much worse for myself. I know its tough for Greg, but then again he has been paid more then $20 million over the last five years – more than enough to live in luxury for the rest of his life and pursue whatever other endeavors he wishes.

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Employment laws update in the 2012 Legislature

February 21, 2012 --

Oregon Legislature mostly silent on employment law issues in February
By J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

Employment law issues will take a back seat in February as the legislature grapples with higher profile budget, education and health care issues, but AOI is actively weighing in on at least three pieces of legislation that will impact family leave, job protections for interns, and how employers advertise their job openings.

HB 4124 grants two weeks of family leave for purposes of bereavement, and up to six weeks of bereavement leave if an employee receives medical verification that counseling or medical treatment is necessary. AOI opposes this legislation to grant additional leave rights. Most employers today already give bereavement leave, and Oregon already has the most expansive workplace leave laws in the nation.

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Big FCC changes to autocalls & telemarketers

February 20, 2012 --

FCC Updates Automated/Prerecorded Telemarketing Rules to Mirror FTC Requirements for Prior Written, Signed Consent, Automated Opt-Outs, and Related Regulations
— FCC Also Remedies Confusion in Its Rulemaking Proposal by Ensuring New Rules Do Not Affect Non-Telemarketing Prerecorded Calls and Text Messages, Such as for Debt Collection, Airline and School Notifications, Fraud Alerts, Surveys Calls, and Wireless Usage Data

By Ronald G. London
Privacy & Security Law Blog
Davis Wright & Tremaine LLP, Oregon Law Firm

The Federal Communications Commission released a Report and Order that revises its rules governing automated/prerecorded telemarketing to modify the consent and opt-out requirements for such calls. The rule change eliminates the “established business relationship” exception that previously allowed autodialed/prerecorded telemarketing to residential lines. Meanwhile, the FCC was careful to ensure the new rules cover only automated/prerecorded “telemarketing” calls and text messages, i.e., those that seek to sell or advertise goods or services, while leaving intact preexisting regulations for non-sales prerecorded calls, such as customer-care, surveys, calls by or on behalf of tax-exempt, non-profit entities, etc.

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