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With Super Bowl comes fake Seahawk merchandise

January 31, 2014 --

By Oregon Better Business Bureau

As the 12th Man prepares for the Seattle Seahawks’ Super Bowl, cons are preparing to line their pockets with the sales of knockoff NFL memorabilia as well. Better Business Bureau reminds fans that counterfeit gear may be inexpensive, but the value and quality is often poor and purchases divert funds away from legitimate organizations.

“This is going to be one of the most highly-anticipated games in Seattle this year,” says Tyler Andrew, CEO of BBB serving Alaska, Oregon and Western Washington. “But with every major sporting event there’s going to be scammers ready to capitalize on fans’ desires to snap up team jerseys and souvenirs.”

According to the Counterfeiting Intelligence Bureau, counterfeiting is one of the fastest growing economic crimes and accounts for nearly six percent of global trade, worth an estimated $600 billion a year. With large fan bases and recognizable logos, American football franchises are prime targets; in fact, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Operation Red Zone seized $17.3 million in fake NFL merchandise in the months leading up to the Super Bowl in 2013.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Labor board drops controversial posting rule

January 30, 2014 --

Ater Wynne LLP
NW Law frim

The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) announced that it will not seek U.S. Supreme Court review of two Court of Appeals decisions invalidating its controversial posting rule. The rule required most private sector employers to post a notice advising employees of their rights under the National Labor Relations Act, including the right to:

– Organize a union to negotiate with employers concerning wages, hours, and other terms and conditions of employment;
– Form, join or assist a union;
– Bargain collectively through representatives of employees’ own choosing for a contract setting wages, benefits, hours, and other working conditions;
– Discuss terms and conditions of employment or union organizing with co-workers or a union;
– Engage in protected concerted activities with one or more co-workers to improve wages, benefits and other working conditions; and
– Choose not to do any of these activities, including joining or remaining a member of a union.

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Business bills in the February Session

January 29, 2014 --

By Oregon Prosperity Project

Lagging personal incomes for Oregonians and their families is the biggest issue facing our state. The 2014 Oregon Legislature can deliver on a handful of specific proposals to accelerate an economic recovery that is still leaving many Oregonians outside of the metro area behind.

Oregon’s per capita income, even with the recovering economy, is still nearly 10% below the national average and 15% below the incomes of Washingtonians. If Oregon incomes were simply at the national average, each Oregonian would be earning $3,900 MORE per year.

Manufacturing will be instrumental in bringing Oregon incomes back up to par.

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Income inequality in sports

January 28, 2014 --

Patrick Emerson PhD ,

OSU Economist
Oregon Economics Blog

The Harvard Sports Analysis Collective (yes, there is such a thing) has done an interesting little analysis of sports salaries and finds that the MLS is actually mid pack in terms of one measure of income inequality: the Gini coefficient.

This is interesting in itself – the league with a tight salary cap and legions of low paid employees is actually more unequal than the NBA?  Can it be?  Well, the Gini in this case is a little deceiving.  Fortunately the HSAC has also plotted out the Lorenz curves for each league.

What you see here is that the MLS curve is relatively flat and then has a huge upswing at the end.  Without getting into the details, this tells us that there are lots of relatively equally low-paid players in the MLS and a very few extremely well compensated ones (the Thierry Henris and Clint Dempseys of the league).

The astute econ majors will note that when Lorenz curves cross (as they do for the MLS with the MLB and NFL, for example) that the Gini is not a good relative measure of inequality.  It becomes more subjective.  So we can see from the bottom graph that the top graph is not really informative. But the MLS dynamic is really about how many players earn low five-figure salaries, so when the big stars come in to the league under the designated player rule which allows their outsized salaries not to count against the salary cap.  Whereas in leagues like the NBA the minimum player salary is high enough to maintain an income distribution that is more equal.  Perhaps this is a comment on the relative strength of the players unions?  The MLS players union has the challenge of representing players whose sport does not yet generate the television ratings to generate large revenues and thus significant movement on minimum player salaries seems unlikely for the foreseeable future.

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7 tax reforms Wyden would enact as Finance Chair

January 27, 2014 --

By Oregon Tax News

Oregon Senator Ron Wyden is projected to become the next chairman of Senate Finance Committee. As chairman, Wyden will run one of the most powerful and influential Senate committees and play a significant role in shaping U.S. fiscal policy in the foreseeable future. Consequently, business interests and political experts are looking for clues as to how he may lead. If his recent legislative record is any indication, there is reason to believe that Wyden may do the following as Finance chair:

1. Cut corporate tax rates and end offshore loopholes. Wyden’s tax reform legislation would have cut the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 24 percent. It would have also eliminated loopholes allowing multinational U.S. companies to defer taxes on income earned abroad but incentivized them to report the earnings on U.S. income tax at a significantly lower rate.

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The Supreme Court takes on property rights case

January 24, 2014 --

nfib-logoNational Federation of Independent Business

Supreme Court to Review Significant Property Rights Case
Court’s ruling will impact landowners across the US

The Supreme Court of the United States will headr oral arguments in Brandt v. United States. The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) Small Business Legal Center and the Owners Council of America previously filed an amicus brief with the Supreme Court in this property rights case. The brief argued that the government cannot establish a trail across private property without first paying the owner just compensation as required by the Takings Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and, further, the government cannot avoid that obligation by redefining previously recognized property rights.

Executive Director of the NFIB Small Business Legal Center Karen Harned issued the following statement in advance of the Court’s hearing:

“There is more to this case than a land-use dispute over abandoned railways. The arguments raised by the United States—and embraced in the Tenth Circuit—have profound implications for the larger fight for property rights in America.

Read the full article and discuss it »

5 Oregon workplace predictions for 2014

January 23, 2014 --

bullard-law2By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm


Although 2013 is now in the rearview mirror, the shadow it casts looms large before us. Here are five stories from 2013 (Affordable Care Act, Portland Sick Time Ordinance, EEOC overstepping its bounds, bereavement leave under OFLA, and legalized marijuana) that we predict will continue to be significant in 2014.

Affordable Care Act: Law and Politics

As we all know, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) has not been a story since June 28, 2012, right? On that date the United States Supreme Court rejected a Constitutional challenge to most of the ACA, which Congress had enacted in 2010 to make significant changes to how health care is provided in America. The Court held that the “individual mandate,” which requires most individuals to have health insurance coverage, was a valid exercise of Congress’s power to tax (referring to the penalty imposed on individuals who fail to obtain insurance as required).

Case closed; next issue. Yes? In the oft-repeated words of Lee Corso, “Not so fast, my friend.” ACA was THE story of 2013, from the beginning of the year through the end. Whether it was explanations of the law’s provisions, delays in its implementation, or the endless political backbiting, grandstanding and other tomfoolery, the ACA was always news.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Rural lawmakers want NIKE-type tax deal

January 22, 2014 --

Rural Lawmakers Focus on Tax Deal for Small Businessescap-small
Oregon Small Business Association,

In a December, 2012 special session, Oregon created a corporate tax structure for Nike, known as the single sales factor. The agreement could also benefit other large corporations, such as Intel. The structure guarantees that corporate taxes will be based for the next thirty years only on sales within Oregon as long as the business creates 500 jobs and invests $150 million in the state.

In interviews with The Bend Bulletin, Roger Lee, executive director of Economic Development for Central Oregon said, “. . . if these larger companies are asking for some certainty, it might make sense small business would like certainty as well.” Rep. Greg Smith (R-Heppner), told the Bulletin, “One or two districts in the state of Oregon got special consideration while other parts of the state that could have benefited from like legislation were excluded.” Rep. Mike McLane, (R-Powell Butte), suggested offering a similar deal with scaled-back options for small, rural businesses as an incentive to locate or expand. Momentum is growing for the issue to be addressed in the next legislative session.

Read the full article and discuss it »

5 problems with State Treasurer’s college initiative

January 21, 2014 --

Cascade-PolicyBy Bob Clark, Guest writer
Cascade Policy Institute

The 2013 Oregon legislative session approved State Treasurer Ted Wheeler’s Oregon Opportunity Initiative for referral to voters, with a vote scheduled in November 2014. If passed by voters, this measure would have the State of Oregon issue General Obligation bonds, give all borrowed money to a newly created Student Opportunity Fund, and obligate State taxpayers to repay the bonds with interest. The Student Opportunity Fund would be invested primarily in stocks, bonds, and other securities. Theoretically, earnings from these financial investments would be used to provide college scholarships (assistance) to a select number of students who met certain qualifications.

Here are five good reasons to oppose the Opportunity Initiative. Another critique of the Opportunity Initiative is “Mining Fool’s Gold” by Nigel Jaquiss (Willamette Week, September 4, 2013).

1. The State’s General Obligation Bond indebtedness would surge.

The Opportunity Initiative begins by having the State borrow $500 million, with additional borrowing expected thereafter. $500 million represents roughly a ten percent increase in the State’s current total outstanding General Obligation debt. But just as importantly, at its extreme the Initiative could result in a doubling of the State’s General Obligation debt.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon’s age gap

January 20, 2014 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog..

At the start of the year there was a potentially scary report by the Census Bureau and highlighted by The Oregonian. The headline says it all: “Kid heavy states? In the West, yes, but not Oregon.” Scary because we’re looking at a coming decade of slower economic growth, predominantly due to the aging Baby Boomers. The antidote for such an outlook is young, working age families, so seeing a report that shows Oregon is lagging behind, at least in one of these areas, is scary. However, it turns out to more a function of age structure than truly lagging behind. These first graphs below show population growth in recent decades by age. In the 1990s Oregon saw very strong population growth in the Baby Boomer cohorts (at that time about 35-55, roughly speaking) along with their children, the Millenials. In the 2000s, Oregon again experienced stronger population growth in the Baby Boomer cohort and among the older Millenials and younger Gen Xers.

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