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Bill helps businesses in tax court

February 28, 2013 --

AOI Introduces Bill to Level the Playing Field for Oregon Companies in Tax Court
By  J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

A new bill has been introduced by AOI that will level the playing field for Oregon companies in Tax Court – a concept that is intended to result in less litigation and less contentiousness – and reduce litigation costs for Oregon business.

The bill, HB 2731, was introduced last week by Representative Vicki Berger (R-Salem) at the request of AOI.

Currently, all private real estate appraisers must abide by uniform appraisal standards known as the Universal Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (USPAP).  All private real estate appraisals must be compliant with USPAP.  Private appraisers can lose licensure through non-compliance with USPAP.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Economics of Portland’s paid sick leave

February 27, 2013 --

Cascade-PolicyMarc Kilmer
Guest writer for Cascade Policy Institute

On March 6 the Portland City Council may vote on whether to require virtually all businesses that employ six or more people to provide them with at least five paid sick days per year. While this sounds well intentioned − who doesn’t support helping out a sick person? – it will actually end up hurting low-wage and less-skilled employees. For the sake of the working poor, this proposal should be rejected.

Let’s establish some basic facts about the employee/employer relationship. Employers provide compensation for an employee based on how much value that employee’s labor has for the employer. Employees with skills that are in higher demand get paid more, both because these skills help an employer’s business more and because there are fewer people with those skills. Any kid off the street can wash dishes, so a dishwasher is likely to make far less money than an electrician, someone who has a specialized set of skills.

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Unification of Estate and Gift Tax

February 26, 2013 --

Ater Wynne LLP
NW Law frim

The American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012, continues the unification of the gift and estate tax. By unifying the gift and estate tax, Congress has kept the two exemptions the same along with the generation-skipping exemption. In 2013, due to indexing, that exemption is $5,250,000.

The way the exemption works is that the unused portion of the exemption is available to the estate at the death of the decedent. For example, if the decedent dies in 2013 and made gifts in 2012 of $5,000,000 anticipating that the exemption would disappear, the decedent’s estate has $250,000 of unused exemption to apply to the transfers to the decedent’s heirs or beneficiaries.

The unused exemption is calculated by “clawing back” into the decedent’s taxable estate the value of all the lifetime taxable gifts made by the decedent. The formula for calculating the tax liability is then applied to the gross taxable estate (which includes the clawed back gifts).

When are those taxes due? Nine months from the date of the decedent’s death.

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$29M Toyota settlement with Oregon, 28 states

February 25, 2013 --

Oregon-department-of-justiceBy Oregon Attorney General

“Unintended acceleration” product defects led to recall of 6 million vehicles

Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum announced that Oregon has joined with 28 other states in announcing a $29 million settlement with Toyota Motor Corp. and its North America subsidiaries over allegations Toyota concealed safety issues related to unintended acceleration.

Toyota agreed to pay $29 million to settle consumer protection claims and has agreed to provide additional restitution and incentives to vehicle owners to promote compliance with unintended acceleration safety recalls. Oregon will receive nearly $600,000 in the settlement. The company will be restricted from advertising the safety of vehicles without sound engineering data to back such safety claims.

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Video: Groupon surge while Living Social stumbles?

February 23, 2013 --

Video: Groupon surge while Living Social stumbles?

A lot of stock activity surrounding the two giants of daily deal websites, Groupon and Living Social. See CNN Money news clip below:

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Unions eye new legal marijuana growers for membership opportunties

February 22, 2013 --

by Sean Redmond, Free Enterprise
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Last month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) released its annual report on union membership, which has been on a 50 plus year downward trend as this blog reported at the time. In response to this ongoing decline, many unions have pursued some interesting tactics to recruit new members and keep themselves alive.

For example, the once-indomitable United Auto Workers (UAW), which had around 1.5 million members in the 1970s compared to its 380,000 today, has branched into industries that have nothing to do with auto work, such as education, gaming, health care, and government, to stave off further losses.  Other unions have started branching out in similar ways, which to say the least has blurred the lines between union “jurisdictions” that historically have been important to the movement. 

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WA Court Affirms Anti-Retaliation Laws Protect HR Employees

February 21, 2013 --

From Stoel Rives LLP – World of Work
by Nate Bailey

The Washington Court of Appeals recently determined that state anti-discrimination laws prohibit retaliation against human resources and legal professionals who oppose discrimination as part of their normal job duties. The court also declined to extend the same actor inference, a defense against discrimination claims, to retaliation claims.

Lodis worked at Corbis Holdings as a vice president of human resources. As part of his normal job duties, he warned Corbis’s CEO, Shenk, that Shenk’s age-related comments could give rise to liability for age discrimination. Around the same time, Shenk promoted Lodis but almost immediately gave him a negative performance review, placed him on probation, and then ultimately fired him. 

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Wyden advances Industrial Hemp Bill

February 20, 2013 --

Oregon U.S. Senator Ron Wyden,

U.S. Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Rand Paul, R-Ky., Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., and Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., today introduced legislation that would allow American farmers to grow and profit from industrial hemp.

The Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013 would remove federal restrictions on the domestic cultivation of industrial hemp. Specifically, the bill would remove hemp from the Schedule I controlled substance list under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, and would define it as a non-drug so long as it contained less than 0.3 percent tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).

Oregon is among eight states that have already defined industrial hemp as distinct from marijuana and removed barriers to production, and the Kentucky state Senate Agriculture Committee this week unanimously approved a bill to license hemp producers. However under current law, farmers in states that allow hemp must still seek a waiver from the Drug Enforcement Administration or risk raids and seizures by federal agents.

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Student loans creating income inequality?

February 19, 2013 --

Engineering Professor - complains about the destructive effects of capitalism requiBy Dr. Eric Fruits, PhD
Oregon economist

The distribution—and redistribution of income—is back in the news. The Economist reported on study of the persistence of income distribution from generation to generation, which generated some discussion.

Then, Gary Becker and Richard Posner jumped into the debate with some often overlooked observations.  Judge Posner, however, flag a growing problem that is just getting some attention:

And it must be borne in mind that some programs that purport to reduce inequality, such as the federal student loan program, may well increase it, by imposing debt burdens disproportionate to the value of the education that they finance.

Seems only a few years ago, the discussion of higher education focused only on the benefit side: How much more money will you earn with a BA, MA, or Ph.D.? Now, the discussion starting to turn to the costs: Will the bump in income more than offset the additional cost of debt?

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Video: Nike’s history of problematic sponsorships

February 18, 2013 --

This CNN Money news clip reviews the recent problems NIKE has been having with their sponsored athletes and various downfalls with many occurring in just the past few weeks. As NIKE is tops in capturing the sports world best athletes it also ends up capturing those star athletes’ baggage. Watch the video below.

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