Business bills in the 2012 Legislature

AOI Endorses Job-Creation Platform for 2012 Session
Article by J.L. Wilson
Associated Oregon Industries

On the eve of the February 2012 Legislative Session, the AOI Board of Directors endorsed a slate of job-creation bills that will cumulatively put 20,000 Oregonians back to work, create nearly $3.4 billion in personal income growth and generate hundreds of millions in tax dollars to support important government services.

In particular, the AOI Board endorsed:

HB 4098, which increases the timber harvest in Oregon’s state forests. Legislative analysis shows 2,100 new jobs, $414 million in personal income growth, and $33 million in new tax revenues after five years;

HB 4101, which increases the amount of water withdrawal from the Columbia River, allowing Oregon farmers access to job-creating irrigation water to the same level as Washington and Idaho farmers currently utilize. Legislative analysis shows 10,200 jobs, $1.7 billion in personal income growth, and $129 million in new tax revenues after five years;

HB 4093, which adds 18 new enterprise zones and increases the size of current zones, is estimated to create 8,100 new jobs, $1.25 billion in personal income growth, and generate over $90 million in new tax revenues after five years;

HB 4040, also known as the Oregon Investment Act, which consolidates state economic development resources to give maximum impact in leveraging private resources for investment in start-up businesses;

HB 4081, which puts the process of conversion of waste plastics into energy into the state’s recycling code, holds the promise of elevating this innovative industry in Oregon;

SB 1547, which authorizes the formation of captive insurance companies in Oregon, puts Oregon on par with 29 other states that allow these enterprises. Such a bill would foster an avenue for business development in Oregon and provide additional work for other sectors of the Oregon economy such as accounting, legal, administrative and actuarial services. Further, it will allow funds to be invested in Oregon and increase use of Oregon financial planners, institutions and banks.

In addition to the AOI-supported bills, a quick survey of the approximately 300 bills that have been introduced for the February session shows that many legislators are serious about ramping up Oregon’s economy. A number of innovative proposals have been introduced including:

HB 4103, which offers tax credits for capital improvements on private property, which will spur job growth and increased property values;

HB 4107, which offers a revenue sharing incentive for local governments to recruit for business growth and expansion;

HB 4113, which allows companies to offset corporate minimum taxes with business tax credits;

SB 1529, which gets commercial warehouse properties out of the same property tax classification as manufacturing facilities, allowing tax certainty for these properties;

SB 1553, which prohibits new regulations from going into effect until after the legislature adjourns, giving the legislature the opportunity to review new regulations;

SB 1571, which puts in place a moratorium on new, non-emergency regulations;

SB 1573, which repeals the Measure 67 corporate minimum taxes based on gross receipts;

Overall, there appears to be a higher level of quality and innovation in 2012 with many of these proposals. Certainly, if these were all enacted in February, Oregon would look like a state that was serious about economic and job growth.

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