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Business bills of 2016 Legislature

January 28, 2016 --

Associated Oregon Industries
Oregon’s largest business advocate

As many of you know, the Oregon Legislature convenes for both long and short Legislative Sessions, depending on the year. The upcoming 2016 Legislative Session is a short session, meaning it will last 35 days starting February 1, 2016. While some believe short sessions should focus on budget and emergency policy issues, this particular short session will cover much, much more. Identified below, are a few bills that we suspect members will have some interest in reviewing:

Healthy Climate Legislation: Senators Chris Edwards (D-Eugene) and Lee Beyer (D-Springfield) intend to introduce legislation that will authorize the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) to implement a greenhouse gas emissions cap-and-trade program for Oregon. AOI is working with the bill sponsors and reviewing the legislative language to develop cost estimates for Oregon businesses. According to advocates, the cap-and-trade proposal would raise approximately $650 million in annual revenue for government programs and increase through 2050. A similar concept was introduced in Washington in which a study indicated an average Washington family would see at least a $56 per month direct increase in their energy costs, and gasoline cost increase of $0.11 increasing to $0.39 by 2035. AOI will work to educate legislators and oppose this bill.

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2016 Ballot: Oregon’s bloodiest political year?

January 27, 2016 --

nfib-logoBy Oregon NFIB

Ahead of some highly charged ballot issues that could be put to voters this fall, a top Oregon senator warned of “potentially the bloodiest political day in Oregon’s history.”

Senate President Peter Courtney said this before a crowd of executives, lobbyists and union members at the annual Oregon Leadership Summit in December. He went on to say that Oregon was on the verge of it’s own Civil War, “pitting the state’s more powerful and wealthy interests against each other,” the Statesmen Journal reported.

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Who and why people move to Oregon

January 26, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

This edition of the Graph of the Week continues our focus on migration into Oregon. Migration is very important to the state and one of the two main reasons Oregon outperforms the typical state during expansions. This also sets the stage for our office’s upcoming research report on young, college educated migrants, to be released in a couple weeks.

In recent years, migration indicators like driver licenses surrendered, school enrollment, and moving van lines data, all pointed toward acceleration in population growth in the state. As the actual data has been released (Portland State and then Census/ACS) it confirms these trends. Net migration into Oregon in is now effectively as large as during the housing boom years, at around 40,000 net new migrants per year. But you already knew that if you follow our office’s work, or PSU’s or various media outlets across the state that have been trumpeting the latest van lines data.

What you might not know is who exactly is moving to Oregon. As you may have suspected, its pretty much everyone. Oregon sees a net influx of residents across all age groups. However, a disproportionate number are in their root-setting years; that important decade from mid-20s to mid-30s when most people settle down, begin their careers in earnest, get married, buy a house and have kids.


These young, working age individuals and households are vital for longer run economic growth. The reason is once a regional economy has such individuals, they rarely leave for another area as migration rates fall considerably from one’s 20s to their 30s and so forth. This means a place like Oregon now has a larger working age population, which can raise the productive capacity and growth rates of the local economy. (Of course, as discussed in our Rural Oregon report, the type of migrants do differ between rural and urban areas.)

Addendum 1:

The two big reasons people move are for jobs and housing. However our office has done some additional work that looks at other characteristics of migrants. Among the factors that lead to higher migration rates are: being single, being young, not being employed, earning lower amounts of income, and having higher educational attainment. Now, that may seem a little bit odd – that collection of characteristics. And it may give some credence to Portlandia’s stereotype, but it really does make sense. Migration is for the young. And migration rates are higher among those with more schooling. So 20- and 30-somethings are more likely to single, more likely to earn less money (they are still early in their careers) and more likely to be unemployed or not in the labor force (one’s peak working years are their late 30s through early 50s).

Addendum 2:

Kanhaiya takes these migration rates by age and by sex, along with some other economic factors — particularly relative unemployment rates, housing prices and the like — and runs them through his population models to create our office’s population and demographic forecasts. As the population’s natural increase (the number of births minus the number of deaths) is slowing considerably, and even turning negative in some locations, the state’s population is being driven more and more by migration.

Addendum 3:

Besides just the overall number of migrants, it is important to look at the relative incomes as well. Particularly for an office that, you know, forecasts state tax revenues. Below is a map Kanhaiya creates based on IRS migration and tax filer data. Oregon loses migrants and income to Washington each and every year. However the inflows from California are always larger and more than compensate for the losses. See slide 12 from Mark’s Destination Oregon presentation at the Oregon Economic Forum for more history on the California and Washington flows. Beyond the northern flow of migrants on the West Coast, Oregon does see net gains from the rest of the country and its regions. Depending upon the year, there are some net outflows to specific states but not a general pattern of losses over time.


Given that young migrants account for the bulk of the total gains into Oregon, our office has a forthcoming report on the young, college educated migrants. Stay tuned for more in a couple of weeks.

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Portland #1 for women owned start-ups

January 25, 2016 --

mercy-corpo-logoBy Mercy Core NW

Small business activity is on the rise across the country, according to a recent study by a prominent research foundation, and Portland, Oregon is at the top in two categories. The Kauffman Foundation, which looked at 40 metro areas across the United States, reports that Portland is #1 for female small business ownership and older adult (ages 55-64) business ownership.

The Kauffman Foundation research is critical in determining the importance and strength of small businesses, and in ensuring that small businesses are provided the necessary resources to thrive. “Main Street Entrepreneurship is at the heart of the American economy,” wrote Maria Contreras-Sweet, administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration, in the report’s Foreword. “This Index is an important step forward, equipping us with the information required to make wise policy decisions and ensure the continued vitality of our entrepreneurial ecosystem.”

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2016 Outlook: Labor Participation, Middle-Wage Jobs

January 22, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

Among the myriad economic trends to watch in 2016, two in particular stand out to me: labor force participation and middle-wage jobs. The reason is both have turned the corner in recent years — even if the conventional wisdom about them has not — and they’re indicative of the growing breadth or coverage of the expansion, something that was clearly missing in the early years of recovery. The good news is the new year should bring continued improvement for both measures of the economy.

First, labor force participation, which is important but can be misleading. It’s important because more workers, or more potential workers can raise the overall productive capacity of the economy, generating stronger growth. Conversely, fewer workers can shrink the capacity of the economy. However the massive demographic shifts in the U.S. and in Oregon are driving much of the underlying participation trends, which you cannot do anything about in the short-term. The LFPR is essentially at its lowest point in recorded history with data going back to the 1970s. However, given the demographics, the LFPR should be at its lowest point, or close to it. What matters from an economic perspective is what our office has been calling the participation gap — the difference between the demographically-adjusted LFPR and the actual LFPR.

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Federal budget deal includes Oregon tax breaks

January 20, 2016 --

A new bill will benefit some alcohol producers in the state.

A $680 billion tax package that Pres. Barack Obama recently signed into law made permanent or renewed more than 50 temporary tax breaks—some that benefit Oregon specifically.

With many hard cider producers in Oregon, one of the extensions that the state’s small business owners were pushing for was an increase on the amount of alcohol and carbonation that’s allowed for hard cider and a reduction on the excise tax for products that exceed those levels.

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State Treasurer warns on Energy Loan program, taxpayer bailout

January 19, 2016 --

Treasurer-state-oregonOregon State Treasurer Press Release,

State Treasurer Ted Wheeler called for an immediate suspension of lending through the State Small-Scale Energy Loan Program overseen by the Oregon Department of Energy, noting that the loan fund has reported a $20 million deficit, lacks the necessary cashflow to cover its obligations, and will require a taxpayer bailout.

As a result, to cover loan payments, money will be allocated away from vital public services such as education, public safety and human services programs.

The Treasurer sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown asking that the still-operating lending program be halted until the agency has been scrutinized and a recommendation made to the Legislature about the loan program’s long-term viability. The governor announced a comprehensive review in December, and the Legislature also has formed a special committee to examine the agency.

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NIKE puts $10M in City bike share program

January 18, 2016 --

nikebikeNIKE Press release,
For more than 40 years, Nike has called the greater Portland area home. Beyond centering its headquarters in the region, the company has both committed to and developed strong ties within the community.

“We’re proud of our long history of partnership with the City of Portland and believe that the BIKETOWN bike share program is one more example of how we can work together to help make Portland an even more active, vibrant and innovative community – goals Nike and the City of Portland share,” said Nike Vice President of Global Community Impact Jorge Casimiro.

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Federal Paid Sick Leave would cost $652B

January 15, 2016 --

nfib-logoBy NFIB

A federal mandate requiring employers to offer paid leave would erase 430,000 jobs and shrink economic output by $652 billion over 10 years, according to new research released today by the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB).

“There’s no such thing as a free benefit,” said NFIB President and CEO Dan Danner. “This would come at a high cost to small business and will have a serious effect on jobs and the economy.”

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New Endangered Species: Independent Contractors

January 14, 2016 --

millernashgrahamdunnllp-logoMiller, Nash, Graham & Dunn LLP
NW Law Firm

In Broadway Cab LLC v. Employment Department, the Court first applied the Employment Department statute that defines “employment” as “service for an employer” that is “performed for remuneration.” ORS 657.030(1). The Court held that the facts supported the conclusion that the cab company and drivers were in an employment relationship. First, although the drivers weren’t required to drive any particular hours for the cab company, as a practical matter they had to drive in order to pay the large fees they owed for the privilege of driving. Second, although the passengers paid the drivers and not the cab company, the services were nonetheless performed for the cab company, not just for the passengers. The Court rejected the notion that pay must come directly from the employer, drawing a comparison to newspaper distributor arrangements that have been held to be employment despite the fact that subscribers, not the newspaper, paid the distributor.

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