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OHSA delays track-your-injuries rule

October 31, 2016 --

Barran Liebman
Oregon Law Firm

OSHA Delays Enforcement of Rule Tracking Workplace Injuries and Illnesses
By Amy Angel and Nicole Elgin

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has announced that it is delaying enforcement of the anti-retaliation provisions of its final rule to Improve Tracking of Workplace Injuries and Illnesses. OSHA issued the final rule this past May and enforcement was originally scheduled for August 2016. The agency is delaying enforcement until December 1, 2016, because of a pending challenge to the final rule in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

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What would U.S. be like if we had Europe’s energy prices

October 28, 2016 --

Chamber-of-commerceUS Chamber of Commerce,

With some politicians and interest groups heralding Europe’s energy policies as a model to follow, the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy examined what would happen if the U.S. was forced to pay EU energy prices.

The report is the third in the Energy Institute’s Energy Accountability Series. The series takes a substantive look at what would happen if energy proposals from candidates and interest groups were actually adopted.

“Saying that the U.S. should become more like Europe when it comes to energy policies has become a common refrain in some circles, so our report takes these politicians and interest groups at their word and presents the facts about what that would actually mean for our economy,” said Karen Harbert, president and CEO of the U.S. Chamber’s Institute for 21st Century Energy. “The types of policies being advocated by leading candidates, such as restricting energy production and imposing new mandates, would drive up energy prices and reduce America’s global competitiveness.”

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Schrader advances EpiPen solution bill

October 27, 2016 --

Kurt-schrader Congressman Kurt Schrader
A bill to encourage faster development of generic drugs has picked up 13 co-sponsors since the pricing controversy over anti-allergy EpiPen auto-injectors erupted, prompting its sponsor to hope it passes this year.

“The more we wait, the more they’ll rip off the consumer,” Rep. Kurt Schrader, D-Ore., said Friday.

Schrader introduced the bill with Rep. Gus Bilirakis, R-Fla., in March in response to Turing Pharmaceutical’s decision to raise the price of Daraprim, used to treat life-threatening toxoplasmosis, from $13.50 to $750.

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Ore. Health Care: Price spikes, Providers vanish

October 26, 2016 --

chart-fruits-hlthcrnv16Steep price hikes under Obamacare
By Taxpayer Foundation of Oregon

Health insurance prices on the Obamacare exchanges have been published on HealthCare.gov, and it’s not good news. Higher premiums, higher deductibles, and fewer choices.

Fewer plans: Last year, residents in Portland, Oregon had a choice of 87 plans. This year, we get only 37 plans from which to choose (1).

Higher premiums: For my family of 2 adults and 4 kids, the average premium has increased by $290 a month—that’s a 25 percent increase. The cheapest plan is $939 a month, but you pay $50 just to walk into the doctor’s office. That’s $50 per person, per visit. That adds up.

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Merger mania and Microsoft

October 25, 2016 --

deidra-ferguson-wellmanby Deidra Krys-Rusoff
Senior Vice President
Ferguson Wellman,
A leading Oregon financial firm

Disappointing corporate earnings forecasts outweighed a Microsoft surge and increased deal activity to end the week basically flat for the S&P 500, Dow Jones, and NASDAQ. Worldwide stock markets also turned in lackluster performances for the week. The U.S. dollar climbed to a seven-month high while the euro fell to its lowest level since March, after Draghi noted that quantitative easing is unlikely to come to an abrupt end. Bond yields were slightly lower, with the benchmark 10-year Treasury trading at 1.75 percent on Friday afternoon.

Merger Mania

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Wyden touts $2M cable fine case

October 24, 2016 --

Wyden-ron-SenatorOregon Senator Ron Wyden Press Release,

Following pressure from Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and his colleagues, the Federal Communication Commission’s Enforcement Bureau today announced that Comcast will pay a $2.3 million fine to resolve an investigation into whether the company wrongfully charged cable TV customers for services and equipment that those customers never authorized.

Under the terms of today’s settlement, Comcast will pay the largest civil penalty assessed from a cable operator by the FCC and implement a five-year compliance plan.

“I asked the FCC to act after hearing from Oregon consumers who have been overcharged with cable and internet fees that they never personally authorized. Oregonians shared their stories about modem rental fees continuing even after they returned the rented equipment to Comcast, or were being charged a rental fee having never even rented a modem in the first place.”

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Chamber comments on Cuba sanction changes

October 21, 2016 --

Chamber-of-commerceUS Chamber,

Carlos Gutierrez, chairman of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce’s U.S.-Cuba Business Council,  issued the following statement regarding the Obama administration’s further amendments to Cuba sanctions regulations:

“The administration’s announcement is a welcomed step forward in the pursuit of greater opportunity for the U.S. private sector to collaborate with Cuba. These amendments offer important pathways to enhance collaboration in science and medicine; to improve crop yields through advanced technology and access to global value chains; and to give greater access to citizens in both countries to certain consumer goods.

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The truth on Oregon’s corporate taxes

October 20, 2016 --

Cascade-PolicyBy Steve Buckstein
Cascade Policy Institute,

Trying to sell voters on the largest tax increase in Oregon history, Measure 97 proponents claim that “Oregon ranks dead last in corporate taxes.” But the nation’s leading independent tax policy research organization, The Tax Foundation, says this claim is misleading. It looked at three ways to rate corporate taxes and found:

  • Oregon’s top marginal corporate income tax rate is the 18th highest in the nation.
  • On a revenue per capita basis, Oregon’s corporate income tax is the 28th highest.
  • The Foundation’s State Business Tax Climate Index ranks Oregon 37th nationally for overall corporate income tax structure.
Read the full article and discuss it »

Oregon hits record vacant jobs

October 19, 2016 --

By Josh Lehner
Oregon Office of Economic Analysis Blog

Oregon businesses reported 61,000 job vacancies in summer 2016. That marks an increase of 19,700 job vacancies from the prior summer, and the largest number of job vacancies recorded in the state since the Oregon Job Vacancy Survey began in 2008.

After easing down since last summer, the share of job vacancies identified as difficult to fill rose again. Businesses said they faced challenges filling 63 percent of all vacancies. The share of job vacancies requiring previous experience has slowly drifted downward over the past two years. A majority (57%) of summer job vacancies still required previous experience though.

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Oregon growth slows

October 18, 2016 --

duy-chart-oct2016University of Oregon Economic Indexes
By Tim Duy
Oregon Economic Forum
University of  Oregon

Oregon Statewide Economic Indicators:

Incoming data continue to indicate that Oregon is in the midst of a more mature stage of the business cycle as the pace of growth levels off after the acceleration out of the recession. Highlights of this month’s report include:

The Oregon measure of economic activity rose to 0.84 from a downwardly adjusted revised July figure of 0.61. The three-month moving average, which smooths month-to-month volatility in the measure held constant at 0.66, where “zero” indicates average growth over the 1990-present period.
The manufacturing sector again made a nearly neutral contribution to the measure; national manufacturing surveys were a weight on the sector. Positive contributions from employment and housing permits bolstered the construction component.

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