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Chamber rejects Net Neutrality

February 27, 2015 --

Chamber-of-commerce
U.S. Chamber of Commerce

U.S. Chamber of Commerce Senior Vice President for the Environment, Technology, & Regulatory Affairs Bill Kovacs today issued the following statement regarding the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) decision to regulate broadband under Title II of the “Communications Act”:

“The Chamber strongly opposes the FCC’s decision to impose burdensome, archaic Title II regulations on broadband. Today’s action by the FCC will plunge the industry into years of litigation and cause extreme regulatory and market uncertainty.

“Applying 80 year-old rules designed for telephone monopolies to broadband just doesn’t make sense. It upends nearly two decades of bipartisan support for regulating the Internet with a light-touch.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Government agency bill collector scams rises

February 26, 2015 --

By Oregon Better Business Bureau

BBB® is telling consumers to be alert to scammers claiming to be bill collectors for government agencies. These scams are coming in the form of phone calls in which the caller is demanding immediate payment over the phone and threatening arrest. They’ll make the request when you answer the phone or even leave a voice mail message. BBB has received numerous complaints lately about these calls.

There have also been reports of written notices with a doctored letterhead claiming it was sent from a government agency. The letter also threatens criminal arrest or legal action if the debts are not paid upon receipt of the letter.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Blazers close to top 10 most valued teams

February 25, 2015 --

blazersPortland Trail Blazers Rank #12 on Forbes list of NBA team values 2015
By Oregon Small Business Association

The top 12 on the Forbes list of NBA team values 2015are:
#1. Los Angeles Lakers $2.6 billion
#2. New York Knicks $2.5 billion
#3. Chicago Bulls $2 billion
#4. Boston Celtics $1.7 billion
#5. Los Angeles Clippers $1.6 billion
#6. Brooklyn Nets $1.5 billion
#7. Golden State Warriors $1.3 billion
#8. Houston Rockets $1.25 billion
#9. Miami Heat $1.175 billion
#10. Dallas Mavericks $1.15 billion
#11. San Antonio Spurs $1 billion
#12. Portland Trail Blazers $940 million

Read the full article and discuss it »

Age Discrimination: Replace 30-year worker with College Grad?

February 24, 2015 --

bullard-law2By Bullard Law,
Portland law firm

Age Discrimination – Replacing A 30-Year Employee With A Recent College Grad

Here at The Bullard Edge we see it all. Folks send us amazing questions – some that highlight holes in the law and others that illustrate HR blind spots. This week’s (fictional) mailbag letter probably falls into that latter category. It is a letter from HR Manager Don T. Seat of the Top Box Company. Don wants to replace an age protected worker (a 30-year Top Box veteran) with a recent college graduate (who has never held a full time job). In the process of explaining this, Don makes stray comments that would have a plaintiff’s lawyer test driving a new Tesla (because of Don’s loose language we have changed all of the names, including Don’s). Here is the question.

Don’s Question:

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State has $2.6 billion unfunded liability problem

February 23, 2015 --

Cascade-PolicyKathryn Hickok
Cascade Policy Institute

Cascade Policy Institute has released a new report showing that Oregon public employers have more than $2.6 billion in unfunded actuarially accrued liabilities associated with non-pension benefits promised to current and future retirees. Referred to as “Other Post-Employment Benefits,” or OPEB, these liabilities include various forms of deferred compensation.

The Governmental Accounting Standards Board mandates that public employers clearly state financial obligations for OPEB in their comprehensive annual financial reports. However, employers are not required to set up trust funds to pay for these promises. As a result, the Cascade review of 125 financial reports of state, regional, and local governments shows that most employers have no money set aside and are paying for OPEB obligations out of annual operating revenues. This cannibalizes funds needed for actual services.

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Paid Sick Leave from view of small business

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tomtestifyBy Oregon Small Business Association

On February 16, 2015, OSBA spokesman, Tom Maginnis, testified before the Joint Senate & House Business & Labor committee on HB 2005 which mandates nearly 50 hours of paid sick leave. Maginnis gave an incredible True-Life Testimony on his own small business as listed below.

When I was working for Mark Hatfield, constituents would tell me, “You don’t understand what it’s like to run a business and make a payroll.” They were right. Now, as the former owner of three Chuck E. Cheese’s restaurants, I do. For nearly twenty years I carried a tremendous sense of responsibility for the lives of the 1,500 young people I employed. When I bought my Portland store in 1997, I employed about 74 employees. After expenses, I cash-flowed about $750,000 per year; money which I used to replace worn assets, upgrade my store, replace old games and machines, repay my commercial loans and finally, support my family.

Read the full article and discuss it »

Feds target web price discrimination

February 20, 2015 --

National-chamber-foundationBy Michael Hendrix,
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation

The Internet is perhaps the greatest modern ally of everyday people. Shoppers in particular have more options available to them than ever before. Yet are shoppers’ data being used against them when they’re not looking? That is a question the President’s Council of Economic Advisers tackled with its new report, Big Data and Differential Pricing. In a word, the answer is “no.”

Differential pricing simply means charging different customers different prices for the same product. Economists call this “price discrimination,” a rather unfortunate term for an ancient and common practice. Movie theaters, for instance, charge children a lower price for the same movie. The upshot is that seeing Frozen becomes more affordable for families. The moviegoer market is expanded and more siblings are forced to “Let It Go.”

Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon’s labor market & wages

February 19, 2015 --


By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

As our office has discussed over the past year (HERE and HERE, e.g.), the expected pattern for the economy would be first more jobs, then higher wages due to a tighter labor market and then more individuals in the labor force looking for these more plentiful and/or better paying jobs. As the overall economy continues to improve and jobs are at an all-time high, more and more focus is being paid to wage growth. In particular, the Federal Reserve is closely monitoring wages and inflation to determine the underlying strength in the economy so they can begin raising interest rates (aka, normalizing monetary policy.) Well, the good news for Oregon is that these expected patterns of growth or labor market dynamics are emerging locally and may already be here.

ORDynamics2014

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Will Oregon pay for Asia pollution?

February 18, 2015 --

By Associated Oregon Industries,

As you may recall, in November the EPA proposed to lower the regulatory ozone standard, from 75 ppb to a range between 65 and 70 ppb. While the EPA’s intention of lowering the U.S.’s ozone pollution is admirable, it neglects to account for the overseas particulate matter that pollutes the U.S. air (see a map of the pollution here).

Oregon faces pollution blowing in from Asia, increasing pollutant counts. With a lower acceptable ozone standard, these overseas pollutants could make Oregon and its cities noncompliant, along with other states and cities across the West coast.

pollutionmap

Read the full article and discuss it »

PDX airport weirdness noted nationally

February 17, 2015 --

By Oregon Small Business Association,

The local hype over Portland Airport’s changing of the decades-old carpet has been aptly picked up by NBC News, as well as the New York Times, Wall Street Journal and CNN. With it comes a lot of jocularity at Oregonians expense with the NBC anchor making a reference to Portland’s “specialness” and another reference to Portlandia the TV show. You can view the video clip here.

pdxcarpetpdxcarpet2

CNN’s  story  featured the bizarre carpet fashion trend by noting such examples as nail PDX carpet nail polish.

Read the full article and discuss it »
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