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Craigslist rolls out local “Safe Zones”

April 30, 2015 --

By Oregon Better Business Bureau

Buying and selling secondhand goods on Craigslist can be a handy way to pick up some extra cash—or snag a great deal. If you’re not keen on having strangers meet you at your home, there’s a solution that’s been popping up all over the U.S.

While it’s always a good idea to meet in a public place when dealing with an anonymous online transaction, some communities have taken it a step further. Police departments have begun offering up their parking lots for Craigslist and other online transactions in the hopes of cutting down on crime.

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Free Electricity Irony — Homeless get arrested, Telsa owners get subsidies?

April 29, 2015 --

The crazy mixed up world of “free” electricity where the homeless get arrested and Tesla owners get subsidies
By Dr. Eric Fruits,
Econ Minute Blog, Oregon


In Portland, OR, Street Roots reports that a homeless former social worker with muscular dystrophy was hit with a misdemeanor theft charge for charging her phone from a plug on a planter-base on a sidewalk. She then spent a day in jail when she missed her arraignment.

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Mapping Oregon job growth

April 28, 2015 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

What follows is a mostly graphical update on the landscape of jobs across Oregon. As mentioned in the previous post on the state more broadly, Oregon is near full-throttle rates of growth. This acceleration has largely come from the pick-up in the state’s second tier metros — Bend, Corvallis, Eugene, Medford and Salem — all of which are growing at good to excellent rates today.

Of course Portland, and the Columbia Gorge, turned the corner first and regained their recessionary lost jobs ahead of other areas. But these second tier metros are now not far behind. Nonmetro, or rural, Oregon has likewise seen big improvements. While rural Oregon is now growing about as fast as it did during the housing boom, effectively 2 percent, it is still digging out from the Great Recession.

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Business implications of AG data breach notification plans

April 27, 2015 --

Miller Nash LLP,
Oregon and Washington Law Firm

Implications for Businesses as Oregon Attorney General Fights for More Detailed Data Breach Notifications, and Increased Involvement in Data Breach Situations

As reported in an interview with The Privacy Advisor, Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum is seeking the following three changes to Oregon’s data breach notification law:

– Mandatory reporting of data breaches to the AG’s office;
– Enhanced enforcement authority in the event of data breaches; and
– An expanded definition of personal information required to be reported.

Rosenblum is seeking an expansion of authority for her office, and an increase in responsibilities for businesses, because the rate at which personal data is being collected—and compromised—continues to expand. She also notes that the increase in enforcement authority she seeks would allow her to coordinate with other state attorneys general. Given the interstate nature of data breaches, coordinating with other states makes sense.

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Illinois Gov. floats local “Right-to-Work” zones

April 24, 2015 --

nfib-logoBy NFIB

Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is distributing a plan for increased local government control to municipalities around the state with the hope that they will pass resolutions of support. His plan, which he calls the “Turnaround Agenda,” calls for legislators in Springfield to pass legislation authorizing “home rule” communities that would be allowed to opt-out of some state laws. The most notable portion of the proposal is permission for local governments to create “employee empowerment zones” where employees would be given the choice whether or not to join a union. Right-To-Work laws have stalled at the state level, so the Agenda’s zones would give the choice to localities. According to the Agenda, “Within an employee empowerment zone, state law would give workers the right to voluntarily join, or refrain from joining, a union. It would be unlawful to condition employment on the obligation to join a union or pay union-related dues within a zone.”

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Congress eyes killing 1031 capital gain exchanges

April 23, 2015 --

Oregon-tax-newsBy Oregon Tax News,

There is much debate about tax reform in Congress and one idea is to eliminate 1031 capital gain exchanges. This idea would have terrible consequences.

Any American business owner will tell you that overhauling the tax code is long overdue. If you ask these same business owners what they believe is working effectively in the Code they will undoubtedly point to a lesser-known provision found in Section 1031.

IRC Section 1031 empowers businesses to defer capital gain and depreciation recapture taxes on certain assets through like-kind exchanges. Investors and business owners can exchange, in a tax-deferred manner, into similar assets that better meet current business needs. Unfortunately, some in congress see this as a treasure trove of tax increases and are working to repeal Section 1031.

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Lessons from the solar scandals

April 22, 2015 --

By Economist Dr. Eric Fruits, Econinternational

President Obama announced a new initiative to train military veterans for careers in the solar industry.

The new Solar Ready Vets Program, would help military veterans learn new skills needed to work in the solar industry after they leave the armed forces.

The solar industry, Mr. Obama said, was a natural growth industry that could help returning soldiers transition back into civilian life.

“The solar industry is actually adding jobs 10 times faster than the rest of the economy,” he said. “They’re good paying jobs that are helping folks enter into the middle class.”

Meanwhile in Oregon …

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20% of beer sold in Oregon were made in Oregon

April 21, 2015 --

brewersguildoregonBy Oregon Brewers Guild

The Oregon Brewers Guild announced that Oregonians bought 585,000 barrels of beer produced in Oregon in 2014, a 14.3 percent increase over 2013. Oregon continues to lead the U.S. in the percentage of dollars spent on craft beer.

Oregon’s breweries crafted 1,641,000 barrels of beer during 2014, a 16.9 percent increase from the previous year. Oregon employment figures continue to strengthen, with the state’s brewing companies adding 800 jobs in 2014 and directly employing 7,400 people during Q3, 2014 according to the Oregon Employment Department.

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Sen. Wyden explains trade bill

April 20, 2015 --

Wyden-ron-SenatorOregon Senator Ron Wyden

Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden  introduced a bipartisan bill to send the message that our country should only accept trade deals that will boost middle-class U.S. families and advance Oregon values.

The bicameral bill includes unprecedented new provisions to improve transparency, boost Congressional oversight and require stronger enforcement for existing trade agreements, U.S. trade laws, any new trade agreement.

The Bipartisan Congressional Trade Priorities and Accountability Act, introduced by Wyden, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., creates a process for negotiating trade deals, by instructing the administration to follow congressional priorities on trade. In exchange, Congress agrees to vote on trade agreements that live up to TPA conditions in a timely manner.

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Employers, unions warn over Cadillac Tax

April 17, 2015 --

By U.S. Chamber of Commerce

By 2022, over half of all employers will be at risk of paying the 40% excise tax on high-value health plans (“Cadillac Tax”). One notable category of employers is colleges, John Rosenberg writes at The Fiscal Times:

Now, as the scheduled 2018 implementation of the tax gets closer and more and more colleges begin to adjust their health plans to deal with it, awareness of the impending pain is beginning to spread. In New Jersey, four of the state’s 11 public colleges and universities have dropped student health insurance, and three of Washington State’s 6 public institutions have done so as well.

Starting in 2018, the tax will be applied to the value of health plans above the threshold of $10,200 for individuals and $27,500 for families. These thresholds will grow at the rate of inflation instead of the faster historic growth trend of health costs. As a result, the tax, sold as only targeting people who have high-value plans, will hit all sorts of people.To give us a sense of how expansive the 40% excise tax’s reach will be, here’s a chart by Conor Ryan at the American Action Forum. Using’s metal levels that describe health plan coverage levels, it shows that the excise tax will not only affect high-value platinum plans but lesser-value gold and silver plans as well.

Individual market premiums projected relative to the 'Cadillac Tax' threshold over the next 35 years.
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