Dear NFIB/Oregon members,
It’s hard to say for sure where the real threats to Small Business are going to come from this year by the time we adjourn this summer, but I would put the threats into two main categories: Taxes and Mandates. With the widely reported “budget shortfall” looming over the building everyday – and with the ambitious work that the Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation & Modernization has decided to take on, we’ll be waiting to see whether the “revenue raising” bills are going to keep the “mandate” bills from moving to the floor of either chamber for a vote.
A tax bill has been introduced this year for pretty much anything you can think of – from coffee and old car taxes (which are now all but dead) to proposals like SJR 41, which proposes amendment to Oregon Constitution providing for the imposition of a business privilege tax on gross receipts derived from Oregon sales (like Measure 97 Light), there are plenty of ways that the Legislature can raise revenue – but remember, a revenue raising bill needs a three-fifths majority to pass in either chamber, which cannot happen this year on a party-line vote.
Mandate bills are plentiful as well – and they mostly have had (or will have) a hearing in the Senate Committee on Workforce and the House Committee on Business and Labor. Much of the Senate Workforce committee’s time has been spent on PERS reforms so far this session, but they’ve taken breaks from that subject here and there to bring forward mandate bills like SB 828, which deals with predictive scheduling and SB 752, which deals with pay equity. Both bills, if they were to become law, would expose small business to new lawsuits.
The House Business and Labor committee has been busy with workplace bullying, predictive scheduling and several other bills. These have all had hearings, but so far these controversial bills have not been scheduled for a work session, which is when the committee votes to adopt amendments and/or move the bill to the floor for a vote of the whole chamber.
The stakes change every day, but wherever we can minimize the damage, we will – and we might just be able to get a good bill or two passed this year.
Stay tuned – it’s going to be a long session,
Anthony K. Smith
Oregon State Director