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Blazer owner first & frequent comments on NBA scandal

April 30, 2014 --

By Oregon Small Business Associationclpprs

Blazer owner Paul Allen was one of the first NBA team owners to speak publicly on the recent LA Clippers owner, Donald Silverman, charges of racism over a taped conversation.

Shortly after the news break, Paul Allen stated publicly, “If true, the alleged comments by Donald Sterling are abhorrent, and not acceptable for the owner of an NBA franchise.”

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Will cancelling Cover Oregon spur lawsuits?

April 29, 2014 --

By Steve Buckstein
Cascade Policy Institute

By abandoning Oregon’s failed technology and adopting the federal exchange technology, the Cover Oregon Board may have made the right technical decision, but they may have opened up a huge legal risk for many Oregonians.

As Cascade’s Steve Buckstein testified at the Board meeting, the Affordable Care Act says not just once, but some nine times, that only “state established exchanges” can offer tax credits to reduce the cost of insurance on the exchanges. The federally established exchange can offer no such help, even though the Obama Administration has ignored this prohibition and granted such credits anyway.

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Legal: Questioning employee’s readiness to return?

April 28, 2014 --

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

Fit for Duty? Questioning an Employee’s Readiness to Return from FMLA Leave

The Family Medical Leave Act (“FMLA”) permits employers to require a second (and in some cases even a third) medical opinion about an employee’s need to take leave, but FMLA expressly forbids second opinions once an employee has been medically released to return to work. So what can an employer do when there are ongoing concerns about an employee’s fitness for duty, but the employee insists on reinstatement and presents the medical backup to support the return to work?

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Court: Business can sue for social media defamation

April 24, 2014 --

Ater Wynne LLP
NW Law frim

Target of social media criticism can sue for defamation, Oregon Court of Appeals holds

The Oregon Court of Appeals recently held that a business owner can pursue a defamation claim against an individual who posted a negative on-line review. In Neumann v. Liles, plaintiff, who operates a wedding venue, was the target of a review on calling her, among other things, “two faced, crooked, and . . . rude.” She sued the author of the review, who had been a guest at a wedding hosted at plaintiff’s venue.

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“Insurance Bailout” already beginning

April 23, 2014 --

osba-logoBy Oregon Small Business Association

A proposal to eliminate a so-called “insurance industry bailout” has received a lot of attention in our Nation’s Capitol. The proposal (S.1726), advanced by U.S. Senator Marco Rubio, aims to eliminate this provision from the Affordable Care Act (ACA), often referred to as Obamacare. But, these concepts – known as “risk corridors” and “reinsurance” – aren’t bailouts; in fact, they’ve been employed before by Congress in bipartisan fashion.  The impact is already being felt.   Insurance provider Humana has stated that it will likely be requesting as much as $450 million for immediate help under this ACA provision.

The reason behind the risk corridor protections is simple: Congress is asking the private sector to price risk that they can’t yet measure – something anathema to an actuarial model. In order to backstop that risk, government essentially put in place “stop loss” protection to keep the companies from going bankrupt if the law fails to work. Without these provisions, the only way to cover the risk is through a wholly-controlled government system, which nobody should want.

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Portland businesses that use Bitcoin

April 22, 2014 --

By Jabob Grier, Portland Writer
Cocktail consultant, magician, blogger.
Liquidity Preference Blog

Depending on whom one asks, Bitcoin is the future of currency, a useful tool for conducting transactions with vast untapped potential, or a speculative bubble of no lasting consequence. Enthusiasm for Bitcoin also signals various commitments, as Tyler Cowen notes, such as for libertarianism and technological optimism. Bitcoin has had a big week, with agreeing to accept it and The Chicago Sun-Times trying out a Bitcoin paywall.

The less obvious uses of Bitcoin are also intriguing. Writing at the Umlaut, Eli Dourado explains how the programming language that makes Bitcoin work opens up all kinds of possibilities, including contracts, micropayments, and proof of identity. It’s enough to convince me that Bitcoin or a successor cryptocurrency will likely be increasingly relevant and that it’s worth getting familiar with how to use it. And though I’ve in all likelihood missed my chance to strike it rich, there are far worse gambles than speculating on Bitcoin from my living room. It’s cheaper than Vegas and the drinks are better.

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Ore. higher income wages soar as lower lags

April 20, 2014 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

New occupational data for 2013 was just released by the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall 2013 was not only stronger than previous years, since we already knew job growth accelerated, but the pattern of growth across occupations was also more encouraging.  Below is an update on job polarization in Oregon, following the same methodology and sources as our research report last year.

In 2013 Oregon outperformed the nation and the average state just a little bit overall but significantly when it comes to the high-wage and upper middle-wage occupational groups. This is the business cycle kicking in, or the state’s beta kicking in. Oregon tends to outperform during expansions (and fall further in recessions) and the data show this at the occupational level, particularly among the upper middle-wage jobs. These include construction and installation, maintenance and repair occupations which are increasing with the improving economy and housing rebound but also other occupations tied more to the public sector like protective services (firefighters, police officers) and teachers. These gains are also directly tied to the improving economy and stronger cycle as public sector budgets follow the general economy, albeit generally with a lag.


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Paper currency use on rebound

April 18, 2014 --

moneyBy Richard Rahn
Institute for Global Economic Growth & Cato Institute senior fellow

Paper currency is dirty and is a major transmitter of disease as it goes from unwashed hand to unwashed hand. It is easily lost and stolen, and can be easily destroyed by getting wet or burned.

It physically wears out in a short time and is costly and troublesome to replace. So why do we still use the filthy stuff in the electronic age?

When given a choice, people find credit cards, debit cards and bank account electronic payments more convenient than cash. In many parts of the world, payments can be made from cellphone to cellphone, with the phone companies serving many of the functions of traditional banks. Money can be stored and transmitted from and to almost any form of computer.

Also various forms of electronic money can be made more secure than paper currency. Electronic monies and payment systems do not spread disease.

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PDX homes 13% rise then decline

April 17, 2014 --

By Economist Dr. Eric Fruits,


Portland home prices are up 13 percent from last year, despite seasonal slowing.

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Business endorsments: Candidates, marriage, water measures

April 16, 2014 --

By Portland Business Alliance

Alliance board announces candidate endorsements for May primary election

The Alliance board of directors endorsed a selection of candidates running for office at various levels of government, including the City of Portland, State Legislature, Multnomah County, Washington County, Clackamas County and Metro. The Alliance board endorsement process includes interviews with candidates for each office and a review of their response to the Value of Jobs candidate questionnaires. The board endorsed the following candidates:

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