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New fast iris scan replaces ID cards

August 31, 2013 --

The iris scan technology is making great headway with faster processing and new clients like Google & Bank of America using it at their top levels. Watch the CNN news video below.

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Unions new method to increase membership

August 30, 2013 --

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Unions are getting very creative when it comes to thinking up new ways to rebuild their membership.  Whether some of these new strategies comport with federal law, however, is a question being asked by many labor law experts, including members of Congress.

As is widely known, unions have faced a steep decline in membership over the past 50 years.  With just 11.3% of the workforce unionized, they are desperate to reverse that trend, and are willing to organize just about any workers they can — including those in the budding medical marijuana industry.

One emerging strategy is to use front groups with the innocuous-sounding name of “worker centers” to skirt federal laws that regulate union behavior and provide protections to both workers and employers. 

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Metro hotel plan further sinks taxpayers

August 29, 2013 --

Cascade-PolicyBy Steve Buckstein
Cascade Policy Institute

The Metro Council unanimously approved two resolutions in favor of subsidizing a Headquarters Hotel near the Oregon Convention Center in Portland. The original idea behind the Convention Center was that with the right package of amenities, people would come to Portland and spend money eating and shopping when not attending meetings. When the Convention Center didn’t generate the hoped-for revenue, it was expanded. When occupancy rates still dropped, Portland officials started planning a hotel.

Other cities have tried this strategy, and it hasn’t worked. Subsidized convention hotels elsewhere have had disappointing results. Not only have they not increased convention business significantly, but they haven’t made their occupancy projections, either. Now those cities are saddled with money-losing convention centers and money-losing hotels.

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Temp & part-timers break historic records

August 28, 2013 --

By Oregon Tax Newschart-temps-aug13

The Oregon economic numbers show that Oregon’s tepid growth is being led by temporary employees. Temp employees along with the rise of part-time employees reflecting of the changing face of employment as the nation as a whole.

Today one in ten American non-farm workers (28 million) are “temporary” employees, close to an all-time high. The second largest employer in the United States Is Kelly Services, a temp agency.

The most recent Labor department jobs report showed that while total nonfarm payroll employment increased by 162,000 in July, those increases were primarily in retail trade, food services and drinking places, and many were part time positions. (see part-time growth chart nearby).  That could be a sign that some employers are hiring part time workers to avoid the ACA’s requirement that companies with over 50 full-time employees provide health coverage to full-time staff.

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Seattle’s job explosion

August 27, 2013 --


This year Seattle ranks the third best city for the best falling unemployment rate among 49 metropolitan areas. Few can match their unemployment rate of 5.9. Compare below on how Seattle job growth change versus the United States average.

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Rose Garden rename a win, petition effort a loss

August 26, 2013 --

Reilly-TJBy TJ Reilly,
Oregon Small Business Association

The renaming of the Rose Garden Arena to the Moda Center is a win-win for everyone. For the Rose Garden It is a long awaited reward which can lead to new businesses filling the vacant stores and even possibilities of bringing in new franchises such as Arena Football or Major League Hockey. There is even chance that this deal could bolster help for the Memorial Coliseum. For Moda Health, it is a chance for a local Portland based company to break into bigger markets with a splash.

With such success it is unfortunate to see a small minority of Portlanders take to the streets with a petition to pressure Rose Garden management against the name change and to reject helping a local business as they bring new funds to improve the arena. Nearly 3,000 people have signed this petition so far which is not a lot but still represents a step backwards for progress and for small business in Portland.

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Apple co-founder ‘horrified’ by Steve Jobs film

August 24, 2013 --

Apple co-founder, Steve Wozniak, was horrified by the script of the new Steve Jobs biography film called “Jobs” and further disliked the final product. Watch the Money-CNN interview below.

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CA demands Small Biz Tax Credit money back

August 23, 2013 --

U.S. Chamber of Commerce

California’s Franchise Tax Board is apparently unfamiliar with the old playground rule of “no take backs.”

In 2008, the state government promised big tax breaks and incentives for specific small business startups. Approximately 2,000 investors and startups took the state up on its generous offer and received in return tax breaks to the tune of about $120 million over the last five years.

But in December, a court ruled the practice unconstitutional. And now, like a petulant child on a school playground, the state’s Franchise Tax Board wants the money back. Some businesses will face a retroactive tax bill of as much as $200,000.

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Sequester impact on Oregon

August 22, 2013 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog.

A common discussion in recent months and quarters has been the impact, or lack thereof, of the federal sequester. For the most part employment continues to grow nationally in the 150-200k range each month and while GDP has been sub-par, there generally haven’t been too many direct things one can point at and say the sequester is impacting it. On top of this remains the fact that most Americans do not know whether or not the sequester is a good or bad thing for the country. Well, if you dig a little bit deeper into the numbers, as the New York Times’ Catherine Rampell has in recent months, you can see clear signs of the sequester’s impact. Both in the public and private sectors. Ms. Rampell has been doing the best analysis I’ve seen out there on this and I have directly borrowed one of her graphs and one of her research ideas below.

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What’s next on the Legislative business agenda

August 21, 2013 --

By  J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

The seven months between Legislative Sessions affords lawmakers, business groups and other interests a chance to do policy work and negotiate key business issues – some good and some bad for business.

The 2013 Legislative interim will be no different. AOI will be participating in a host of interim work groups and task forces on various issues of importance to Oregon business.

Here’s a sampling of the issues AOI will be involved in during the Legislative interim:

Mandated Paid Sick Leave. Although the statewide mandate for all employers to offer paid sick leave, HB 3390, did not pass this session, the proponents will be afforded the opportunity to make their case for such a mandate in an interim work group. AOI will participate.

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