|Yi moves up while Oregon stays put - The Register-GuardGoogle News / 6 h. 12 min. ago more|
Yi moves up while Oregon stays putThe Register-GuardDALLAS — Oregon's Edwin Yi moved up the leaderboard Monday to lead the efforts of the Ducks' men's golf team in the second round of the Trinity Forest Invitational at Trinity Forest Golf Club. Yi, who began the day tied for 14th, moved into a tie for ...
|Oregon Man Jailed 7-Plus Years for Assault, Baby's Injuries - U.S. News & World ReportGoogle News / 8 h. 29 min. ago more|
Oregon Man Jailed 7-Plus Years for Assault, Baby's InjuriesU.S. News & World ReportAn Oregon man accused of throwing down his then-girlfriend's 2-year-old _ causing the boy to spend a month in the hospital _ has been sentenced to more than seven years in prison. Sept. 26, 2017, at 12:10 a.m.. Oregon Man Jailed 7-Plus Years for ...and more »
|Oregon bride injured in carriage crash files $155450 lawsuit - OregonLive.comGoogle News / 9 h. 28 min. ago more|
OregonLive.comOregon bride injured in carriage crash files $155450 lawsuitOregonLive.comJohnson, a member of the Oregon State Bar since 1986, did not return telephone and email messages seeking comment on the suit. He has not yet filed a formal response in court. The lawsuit penned by Nelson includes several excerpts from a ...
|Oregon Governor Casts Herself as Counterweight to Trump - U.S. News & World ReportGoogle News / 10 h. 9 min. ago more|
U.S. News & World ReportOregon Governor Casts Herself as Counterweight to TrumpU.S. News & World ReportFILE - In this April 27, 2017, file photo, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown speaks in the Capitol ceremonial office in Salem, Ore. Brown formally announced via a press statement and You Tube video Monday, Sept. 25, 2017, that she will run for re-election.Oregon Gov. Kate Brown announces bid for re-electionThe Spokesman-ReviewOregon Gov. Kate Brown Announces Reelection BidHuffPostOregon Gov. Kate Brown Opens Re-election CampaignJefferson Public RadioEast Oregonian (subscription)all 17 news articles »
|Oregon Appeals Court Keeps Blocking County's GMO Ban - U.S. News & World ReportGoogle News / 10 h. 9 min. ago more|
Oregon Appeals Court Keeps Blocking County's GMO BanU.S. News & World ReportOregon Appeals Court Keeps Blocking County's GMO Ban. The Oregon Court of Appeals has decided to keep blocking a voter-approved initiative that bans genetically engineered crops in Josephine County. Sept. 25, 2017, at 4:32 p.m.. Oregon Appeals ...and more »
|Diamler Tests Digitally Connected Trucks In Oregon And Nevada - ForbesGoogle News / 10 h. 32 min. ago more|
ForbesDiamler Tests Digitally Connected Trucks In Oregon And NevadaForbesIn a press release today, Daimler Trucks North America announced that it will drive digitally connected trucks on public highways in Nevada and Oregon. Daimler Trucks North America says it now has permission from the Oregon Department of Transportation ...'Platoons' of autonomous Freightliner trucks will drive across OregonEngadgetDaimler to test automated truck 'platooning' tech in OregonDigital Trendsall 25 news articles »
|Patagonia fire crew returning home from Oregon - Nogales InternationalGoogle News / 11 h. 17 min. ago more|
Nogales InternationalPatagonia fire crew returning home from OregonNogales InternationalPatrick Lee Hatfield, 29, of Patagonia and Nogalians Christopher Felix, 36, and 38-year-old Oscar Verdugo, Jr., all firefighters with Patagonia Volunteer Fire and Rescue, are part of an engine crew that has spent the last 21 days helping fight Oregon's ...and more »
|Inmates push for healing garden on grounds of the Oregon State PenitentiaryOregon News / 11 h. 21 min. ago more|
A group of Oregon State Penitentiary inmates hopes to carve a one-of-a-kind healing garden out of a small space wedged between the massive prison yard and an imposing cellblock. The effort, spearheaded by two prison clubs, the Asian Pacific Family Club and the Veterans Association, has been underway for about three years as inmates built a network of supporters and champions among prison administrators, staff, volunteers and their fellow inmates.
|Jamal Elliott, Oregon Ducks 4-star RB commit, out for season - OregonLive.comGoogle News / 11 h. 23 min. ago more|
OregonLive.comJamal Elliott, Oregon Ducks 4-star RB commit, out for seasonOregonLive.comOregon Ducks four-star running back Jamal Elliott is out for the remainder of his senior season with a sports hernia injury, according to Jon Stout. The 5-foot-10, 180-pound ball-carrier, out of Hillside High School (Durham, North Carolina), plans to ...Oregon commit to miss remainder of senior season with injury247Sportsall 3 news articles »
|Portland Police, School Leaders Investigate Fight After Football GameOPB / 13 h. 3 min. ago more|
Portland Police are investigating a fight that broke out Friday night near a MAX station after a high school football game between longtime rivals Grant and Jefferson high schools.
|Vancouver Launches Training In Response To Immigration RaidsOPB / 13 h. 51 min. ago more|
For the first time in Southwest Washington, organizers are training community members on how best to respond to an immigration raid.
|Oregon Will Give Washington A Voice In Developing Portland Freeway TollsOPB / 15 h. 37 min. ago more|
Oregon Gov. Kate Brown directed her transportation officials Monday to give Washington a voice in a new congestion pricing plan being developed for the Portland area.
|Oregon re-opens four state parks in the Columbia River GorgeOregon News / 15 h. 47 min. ago more|
The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced Monday that four park areas closed by the Eagle Creek Fire in the gorge have re-opened to the public, though many more remain closed indefinitely. Rooster Rock State Park , the Portland Women's Forum viewpoint , Starvation Creek State Park and the Dabney recreation area have all re-opened, three weeks after the fire shut down all roads and recreation areas on the Oregon side of the gorge.
|Oregon Sen. Wyden Says Trumpcare Is 'As Popular As A Root Canal'OPB / 16 h. 31 min. ago more|
The Congressional Senate Finance Committee held the only public hearing on the Republican Graham-Cassidy health care bill Monday.
|Man, 38, convicted of abusing boys dies in Oregon prison - Seattle TimesGoogle News / 17 h. 2 min. ago more|
KATUMan, 38, convicted of abusing boys dies in Oregon prisonSeattle TimesALBANY, Ore. (AP) — Oregon State Police are investigating the death of a 38-year-old inmate at the state prison in Pendleton. The Corrections Department says David Kirby was found unresponsive in his housing unit Sunday night. He was pronounced dead ...Oregon Department of Corrections inmate died unexpectedlyKATUall 8 news articles »
|Gov. Kate Brown Officially Announces Bid for Re-Election in 2018Oregon News / 18 h. 7 min. ago more|
In an announcement that is a pure formality and a surprise to nobody, Gov. Kate Brown this morning announced that she will seek re-election in 2018. Brown, a Democrat and former Senate majority leader representing Portland, was in her second term as Oregon's secretary of state when former Gov. John Kitzhaber resigned in February 2015.
|Oregon re-opens four state parks in the Columbia River Gorge - OregonLive.comGoogle News / 18 h. 25 min. ago more|
OregonLive.comOregon re-opens four state parks in the Columbia River GorgeOregonLive.comThere's finally a bit of good news for folks looking to recreate in the Columbia River Gorge. The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department announced Monday that four park areas closed by the Eagle Creek Fire in the gorge have re-opened to the public, ...These 9 iconic places burned in Oregon's wildfires. How badly were they damaged?kgw.comOregon Parks and Recreation reopens 4 state parks in Columbia River GorgeKATU4 Columbia River Gorge Parks Reopen as Wildfire SlowsU.S. News & World ReportStatesman Journalall 17 news articles »
|With Eastbound I-84 Finally Open, Gorge Commuters Return To NormalOPB / 18 h. 37 min. ago more|
Regular commuters on Interstate 84 started their week with a return to normal driving routines.
|Turkey Trouble | Lead Dust | Makers And TechsOPB / 20 h. 26 min. ago more|
We hear about turkey poop in eastern Oregon, lead dust from home demolitions, and an effort to bring creative types and technical types together in the Oregon startup world.
|Keizer Station Hop Jacks will open next springOregon News / 20 h. 28 min. ago more|
Hop Jacks, a Washington-based chain specializing in American comfort food, is currently building one of its newest locations on the corner of Ulali Drive North and Keizer Station Boulevard. "We selected Keizer because of its general proximity to I-5 and the mix of businesses in the center," said founder Mark Eggen.
|Oregon Gov. Kate Brown Opens Re-election CampaignOPB / 20 h. 52 min. ago more|
To no one's suprise, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown says she plans to run for re-election to the office she's held since John Kitzhaber's resignation in 2015.
|'I Already Learned This': The Challenge Of Teaching TAG StudentsOPB / 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
How should schools teach kids who are way ahead of the pack, like Class of 2025 students Anna and Johnathan?
|'The Four Top': Cultures Are Not Trends | Portland's Popularity | Challenges For Female Restaurant WorkersOPB / 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
When is it wrong to use terms like "ethnic" and "trend"? Why is Portland such a hot food city? And what's the state of the restaurant industry for female workers?
|Chief Outlaw and Superintendent Guerrero, welcome to Portland on behalf of my biracial boys: Guest opinion Oregon News / 1 d. 1 h. 6 min. ago more|
As leaders in powerful positions who are experts in their field, Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw and Portland Public Schools Superintendent Guadalupe Guerrero, you have arrived at an important time. As a white mother, I worry deeply about my biracial boys and other black and brown children growing up in Portland.
|Boosting equity, diversity and inclusionOregon News / 1 d. 5 h. 30 min. ago more|
Three years after the Ashland High School leadership committee known as the site council targeted equity, diversity and inclusion as its primary focus, the school has rolled out A multifaceted plan whose goal in part is to make school "more safe and welcoming for all regardless of their differences." Much more than a broad statement of the school's overarching philosophy or a list of dos and don'ts, the Ashland High School Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Plan, which is available on the school's website , includes a four-pronged "Goals and Results" section designed to track the school's progress in areas such as recruiting a more diverse pool of applicants for teacher and administrator vacancies, making "all" curriculum, books and materials diverse and inclusive, and decreasing hate speech and related incidents.
|Tough winter, brutal history play role in Warm Springs school attendance: Guest opinionOregon News / 1 d. 9 h. 47 min. ago more|
Families flocked to a back-to-school event at Warm Springs Academy in early September 2014. Parents like Effie Goodlance, who grew up in Warm Springs and now sends her kids to the school, want their children to attend regularly and on time.
|Nadim, Henry set to leave Thorns after 2017 seasonOregon News / 1 d. 14 h. 12 min. ago more|
The Oregonian reported this morning that Nadia Nadim and Amandine Henry will not return to the Thorns in 2018. Nadim is headed for Manchester City, and Henry is set to rejoin her old club, Olympique Lyonnais.
|Arizona State upsets No. 24 Oregon on late field goalABCNews.com / 1 d. 16 h. 48 min. ago more|
Freshman Brandon Ruiz kicked a 41-yard field goal with 2:33 to play and Arizona State held on to upset No. 24 Oregon 37-35 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams, ending the Sun Devils' 10-game losing streak to the Ducks
|District attorneys can block or lead on criminal justice reform: Guest opinionOregon News / 1 d. 18 h. 38 min. ago more|
The American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon just launched a major, multi-year campaign to reform our state's criminal justice system. We want to improve the system so it is more fair, just and effective.
|As Bend considers ward elections, a look at other citiesOregon News / 1 d. 23 h. 10 min. ago more|
Those are two of the big questions a citizen committee reviewing Bend's charter will try to answer Tuesday, before city councilors and Bend voters make a final decision next year on instituting a ward system and directly electing a mayor. Excluding Bend and Portland, which has a rare commission form of government in which the mayor and elected commissioners administrate city departments along with passing laws and hearing land-use appeals, most of Oregon's 10 largest cities elect their councils from wards.
|Rapid reaction to No. 24 Oregon's 37-35 loss to Arizona StateOregon News / 2 d. 3 h. 35 min. ago more|
The offense with the most points in college football sputtered, and the defense with all the turnovers and answers on third down broke down too many times Saturday. That's the recipe for a loss -- Oregon's first in the Willie Taggart era, as Arizona State threw a 37-35 upset Saturday of the 24th-ranked Ducks.
|Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) scores a touchdown against Oregon during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick ...ABCNews.com / 2 d. 6 h. 38 min. ago more|
Arizona State wide receiver N'Keal Harry (1) scores a touchdown against Oregon during the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
|Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) throws a pass against Oregon during the first half during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)ABCNews.com / 2 d. 6 h. 39 min. ago more|
Arizona State quarterback Manny Wilkins (5) throws a pass against Oregon during the first half during an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
|Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (10) pushes off from Arizona State defensive back Chad Adams during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP ...ABCNews.com / 2 d. 6 h. 52 min. ago more|
Oregon quarterback Justin Herbert (10) pushes off from Arizona State defensive back Chad Adams during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2017, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
|Oregon ReportOregon News / 2 d. 7 h. 44 min. ago more|
Central Oregon authorities say rodent droppings on food packaging are among the violations found at a regional emergency center set up during the solar eclipse in August. The Bulletin reports in a story on Friday that Deschutes County Health Services inspectors found 14 violations at the Deschutes County Fair & Expo Center kitchen serving about 175 emergency responders.
|Oregon has no time to waste in searching for budget solutions: Editorial Agenda 2017Oregon News / 2 d. 12 h. 2 min. ago more|
In this May 4, 2017, file photo, motivational banners hang in the common area of Forest Grove High School as students head to classes in Forest Grove, Ore. Sen. President Peter Courtney wants to convene a legislative committee to look at funding K-12 education and, by extension, address Oregon's revenue and spending problems.
|Athletes Blast Trump After President Targets Kaepernick, CurryOPB / 2 d. 14 h. 9 min. ago more|
President Trump said two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry was not welcome at the White House, then said NFL players who kneel for the national anthem should be fired.
|Republican party's legacy: Letter to the editorOregon News / 2 d. 18 h. 39 min. ago more|
According to a memo obtained by The Oregonian, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke wants to " shrink the size of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument." Zinke and the Trump administration are betraying the Republican Party's long legacy of environmental stewardship as well as the majority of current Republican and Democratic voters by attempting to reduce the size of our national monuments.
|Washington Senator Wants Her State To Help Develop Oregon Tolling PlanOPB / 3 d. 12 h. 37 min. ago more|
Washington Sen. Patty Murray tells Oregon Gov. Kate Brown she wants Washington state and the city of Vancouver to be voting members on an Oregon congesting pricing committee.
|ODOT Re-Opens I-84 Eastbound Lanes After Prolonged ClosureOPB / 3 d. 12 h. 39 min. ago more|
The Oregon Department of Transportation says the eastbound lanes of Interstate 84 from Troutdale to Hood River are open.
|Russian Hackers Attempted To Access Oregon Voter Information In 2016OPB / 3 d. 14 h. 25 min. ago more|
The Department of Homeland Security informed Oregon officials Friday that Russian hackers attempted to access voter information during the 2016 election.
|Oregon Senators Sound The Alarm On Latest GOP Health Care BillOPB / 3 d. 16 h. 39 min. ago more|
Nursing home residents in Portland told Oregon’s two Democratic senators Friday that they would be devastated by the health care cuts proposed in the latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act.
|Health Care Tax Would Hurt Middle ClassCascade Policy / 4 d. 15 h. 33 min. ago more|
By Eric Fruits, Ph.D. Many Oregonians are now spending as much on health insurance and health care as they are on their mortgage payments. The Oregon legislature recently passed House Bill 2391 (signed by Governor Kate Brown) that will spike these costs even higher. The law provides $605 million in new funds to the Oregon Health Authority. The money is meant to fill the fiscal hole made by the state’s costly expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Most of the money will come from taxes on health insurance providers, hospitals, managed care providers, and insurance provided through the Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB). Two of Oregon’s largest insurance providers on the ACA exchange have been approved for double-digit premium increases: Kaiser at almost 15 percent and Providence at more than 10 percent. For a 40-year-old with a Silver ACA plan, that amounts to an increased cost of about $500 a year. The law explicitly allows the new taxes on health insurance providers to be passed on to consumers. With these new taxes, that Silver ACA plan will cost about $625 more in 2019 than in 2018. It’s not just 40-year-olds who will get hit with the insurance tax. Nearly 12,000 college students who buy their own health care as a requirement of attending a public college will pay the tax. Small group employers—such as the local coffee shop, auto repair, or bookstore—will pay the new tax. Taxes on hospitals will raise the costs of care across the board. Emergency room visits, surgeries, diagnostics, and even childbirth will be hit with this new sales tax on hospital services. The cost of these taxes also will be passed on in the form of higher deductibles and premiums. Even if you don’t go to the hospital, you will be paying the hospital tax through higher insurance prices. Because of the tax on the PEBB, local governments and school districts will also pay higher prices to insure their employees. These higher costs will lead to further cuts in staffing and services. Oregon’s already crowded classrooms will almost certainly get more crowded as districts struggle to fund the PERS crisis and higher insurance costs. Medicaid providers are also hit with the tax. Because they do not have the pricing flexibility of other providers, they will have a harder time passing on the higher costs to consumers. Instead, they likely will reduce payments to doctors, nurses, and staff. With reduced payments, these professionals may decide to get out of the Medicaid market, thereby worsening the current shortage of Medicaid providers. The Oregon Health Authority reports it recently removed nearly 55,000 people from its Medicaid program, after the state found they no longer qualified or failed to respond to an eligibility check. State auditors said in May that each of these Medicaid enrollees costs Oregon, on average, about $430 per month, or more than $550 million a biennium. These new savings alone more than cover the legislature’s tax increases. While nearly everyone will be hit with the cost of these taxes, Oregon’s middle-class families will be hit the hardest. The Census Bureau reports that more than half of Oregon’s uninsured are adults between the ages of 25 and 64 who are not in poverty. These middle-class Oregonians surely want health insurance but have been priced out of the market. According to estimates by the Kaiser Family Foundation, about half of the individuals buying insurance on the Obamacare exchange get no subsidies under the law. This has been called “the middle-class loophole of no help.” Adding the legislature’s new taxes will drive more of the middle class to take their chances with being uninsured. Is this really the state of health care we want for Oregon? These taxes can be stopped. StopHealthCareTaxes.com is now collecting signatures to put Referendum 301 on the ballot, allowing voters to repeal about $320 million in new taxes on health insurance and health care. It would save the average household more than $200 a year in new taxes. Middle-class families will see even bigger savings. The referendum won’t stop the cost of health care from rising, but it will stop things from getting worse than they already are for Oregon’s middle class. Eric Fruits, Ph.D. is an Oregon-based economist, adjunct professor at Portland State University, and Academic Advisor for Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization. A version of this article appeared in The Portland Tribune on September 21, 2017.
|You Can Stop New Health Care TaxesCascade Policy / 5 d. 23 h. 51 min. ago more|
By Steve Buckstein The Oregon Health Authority has finally removed nearly 55,000 people from its Medicaid program because an audit found they no longer qualified or failed to complete an eligibility check. At $430 a month per person, this can save taxpayers some $550 million a biennium. This tremendous savings means that there is even less reason to let some $320 million in new health care taxes go into effect next year. Why should some Oregonians have to pay a new tax on their health insurance premiums, and why should many hospitals have to pay a new tax on their income that will be passed on to patients? If you are a registered Oregon voter, you can sign the petition to put these new taxes on the ballot by going to StopOregonHealthCareTaxes.com. Signatures should be returned in the mail no later than October 1, which is less than two weeks away. Assuming enough signatures are gathered, the Referendum will appear on a special election ballot in January. You will then have a chance to undo what the legislature and the Governor tried to do, which is make health insurance and health care even more expensive than they are now. So sign the petition, and then vote against these new health care taxes. Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Portland schools face audit after suing records requestersABCNews.com / 6 d. 16 h. 20 min. ago more|
Oregon's secretary of state says his office will audit spending by Portland Public Schools, partly over concerns that it sued people who requested public records
|This Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 photo, shows draft tap handles for beers from Newport, Oregon's Rogue Ales brewery, at the Black Tap restaurant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai long has been known ...ABCNews.com / 7 d. 6 h. 25 min. ago more|
This Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017 photo, shows draft tap handles for beers from Newport, Oregon's Rogue Ales brewery, at the Black Tap restaurant in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Dubai long has been known for its clubbing scene and cocktail bars, but there’
|Small plane hits, kills 2 elk while landing on Oregon coastABCNews.com / 8 d. 13 h. 7 min. ago more|
A small airplane struck and killed two elk as the aircraft was landing on an airstrip on the Oregon coast
|Falk throws 6 TD passes to lead No. 21 Washington StateABCNews.com / 9 d. 10 h. 4 min. ago more|
Luke Falk threw six touchdown passes _ three to Tavares Martin Jr. _ and No. 21 Washington State beat Oregon State 52-23 for its fourth consecutive victory over the Beavers
|PHOTO: A counter protester against right-wing group Patriot Prayer in Juggalo facepaint wears a sandwich board in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 10, 2017.ABCNews.com / 10 d. 15 h. 34 min. ago more|
PHOTO: A counter protester against right-wing group Patriot Prayer in Juggalo facepaint wears a sandwich board in Portland, Oregon, Sept. 10, 2017.
|Teacher creates magical 'Harry Potter'-themed classroom to spellbind his studentsABCNews.com / 11 d. 16 h. 39 min. ago more|
Kyle Hubler, a teacher at Evergreen Middle School in Hillsboro, Oregon, transformed his classroom into a wizarding wonderland to surprise his students.
|Governor Brown Wants Oregonians to “Take One for the Global Team” over CO2Cascade Policy / 12 d. 23 h. 51 min. ago more|
By John A. Charles, Jr. Oregon Governor Kate Brown has announced her intention to pass legislation in the short session of 2018 to place a regulatory limit on emissions of carbon dioxide by large industrial sources. Once a company exceeds the annual limit, it will have to purchase allowances for additional emissions. Proponents estimate that the regulations will cost businesses $1.4 billion per biennium. These costs will be passed on to consumers. Such regulations might be appropriate if there were known environmental or health benefits to reducing carbon dioxide. Unfortunately, such a clear link does not exist. Not only are benefits speculative, but they are global in nature and very long term—possibly centuries in the future. The costs, however, are very clear. They will be known, immediate, and local. Prices of cement, steel, and millions of consumer products will have to go up. In essence, the Governor is asking Oregonians to “take one for the global team” in the hope that somebody, somewhere will benefit in the misty future. This is not likely to be embraced by voters who already feel immense strain from the high cost of housing, health insurance, and public employee pensions. State legislators have many problems to worry about. Regulating CO2 should not be one of them. John A. Charles, Jr. is President and CEO of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Whose Money Is Your Oregon Kicker Refund?Cascade Policy / 19 d. 23 h. 51 min. ago more|
By Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok State economists have confirmed that individual Oregon income taxpayers will receive kicker refunds next year. Based on the May revenue forecast, more than $463 million will be returned to taxpayers as a credit on their 2018 tax bills, with the average refund being $227. But with the news that the coming refunds will reduce our tax liabilities, some are criticizing the way the kicker law works, while others argue the money really belongs to the state, not the taxpayers. They argue that as long as any group of Oregonians—or any state government budget item—has a “need” for that money, then the money should go to them instead of back to the individuals who earned it. Whether the kicker law is good or bad public policy doesn’t change the answer to a more fundamental question: Whose money is it? Is the kicker a rebate for overpaying your taxes or is it somehow the State of Oregon’s money, better left in government coffers? If we can find a better way to restrain runaway government spending, we should do so. But until that day arrives, Oregon’s kicker law is one defense against those who argue that some of the money you earned belongs to someone else just because they “need” it. Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization. Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade.
|“Worker’s Choice” Would End the Unions’ “Forced-Rider” ProblemCascade Policy / 32 d. 4 h. 51 min. ago more|
By Kathryn Hickok and Steve Buckstein This is National Employee Freedom Week (August 20-26), a national effort to inform union members about their freedom to opt out of union membership if they choose and to make decisions about labor representation and the use of their union dues. National Employee Freedom Week (NEFW) conducts surveys of union members and households. One significant finding is that a strong majority of union members nationwide agree that if members opt out of paying union dues and fees, they should represent themselves in negotiations with employers. Union leaders argue labor laws require them to continue representing workers even after they stop paying dues. “Worker’s Choice” would end this so-called free-rider problem (which is really a forced-rider problem). The Mackinac Center for Public Policy explains: “Without requiring a complete overhaul of collective bargaining laws, [Worker’s Choice] can free unions from having to provide services to employees who do not support them, and allow individual employees to represent themselves and negotiate independently with their employers.” According to the NEFW survey, two-thirds (66.9%) of Oregon union members agree that workers should be able to represent themselves, and they don’t want to force unions to represent non-dues payers. It remains for future court decisions, or other political efforts, to end union compulsion in Oregon. Until that happens, Worker’s Choice should continue to be brought to the attention of union members and the public. Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director and Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Time to Stop Forcing Union MembershipCascade Policy / 32 d. 23 h. 51 min. ago more|
By Steve Buckstein and Kathryn Hickok This week (August 20-26) is National Employee Freedom Week, a national effort to inform union members about their freedom to opt out of union membership if they choose and to make decisions about labor representation and the use of their union dues. The effort “empowers union employees with information to make the decision about union membership that’s best for them, including identifying non-union alternatives that better suit their needs.” An interactive map at employeefreedomweek.com lets workers in Oregon and other states find links to information helpful to those wanting more employee freedom. More than 100 organizations across the country, including Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, are affiliated with the annual campaign. “Right to Work” states are states in which union membership may not be enforced as a condition of employment. Workers may choose to join a union or not, without fear of losing employment, salary, benefits, or seniority. Workers in the 22 states that are not yet Right to Work, such as Oregon, do not have full freedom to opt out of union membership. However, they do have the right to become agency fee payers, to identify as religious/conscientious objectors, or to require that their dues not be used for political purposes. According to National Employee Freedom Week’s website, “many employees are thrilled to learn that alternative professional associations provide better benefits and professional development opportunities for a fraction of the cost of union membership.” Last year a survey of union members and union households found that about two-thirds nationwide agree that if members opt out of paying all union dues and fees, they should represent themselves in negotiations with their employer, an option known as “Worker’s Choice.” By the same margin (66.9% to 33.1%), Oregonian union members support Worker’s Choice, too. Worker’s Choice would end the so-called free-rider problem (really a forced-rider problem) commonly touted by union leaders, who argue that labor laws require them to continue representing workers even after they stop paying all dues and fees. Oregon labor law is similar to that of many states that don’t allow individual workers to represent themselves if a union has organized their workplace. But now we know that most Oregon union members want this to change. They want workers to be able to represent themselves, and they don’t want to force unions to represent these non-dues-payers. You would think the unions would be all over the Worker’s Choice solution, but they aren’t. Unions want to be forced to represent all workers because under current labor law, states like Oregon that don’t have Right to Work require that non-union members still contribute the non-political portion of dues to their unions to cover bargaining and representation costs. The unions want the money, pure and simple. Of course, they also wanted compulsory political dues, but in 1988 the U.S. Supreme Court Beck decision gave all workers the right to opt out of those, thanks to now-Oregonian Harry Beck’s decades-long battle to preserve his free speech rights. He tells his story at oregonemployeechoice.com. A case heard by the U.S. Supreme Court last year (Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association) could have freed all public sector workers nationwide from paying compulsory union dues based on the argument that such compulsion violates their First Amendment rights to free speech and free association. Before the case could be decided, Justice Antonin Scalia died, leaving a four-four tie vote in the Court. This resulted in upholding a lower court decision denying ten California public school teachers their rights to be free of union compulsion. This union compulsion brings to mind the well-known statement by Thomas Jefferson: “To compel a man to furnish funds for the propagation of ideas he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.” That is what the Supreme Court left in place—the right of public sector unions to compel workers to fund the propagation of ideas they disbelieve. It remains for future court decisions, or other political efforts, to end union compulsion in Oregon and nationwide. Until that happens, National Employee Freedom Week will continue to bring this injustice to the attention of union members and the public. Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder at the Portland-based Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization. Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade. A version of this article originally appeared in The Portland Tribune on August 24, 2017.
|The Right to Choose or Reject Union Representation Respects WorkersCascade Policy / 38 d. 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
By Kathryn Hickok Why do many workers choose to opt out of union membership? Some believe they can make better use of their money than giving it to a union. Others “vote with their feet” against what they perceive to be poor union service or negotiating results. Still others leave because they oppose their unions’ political positions. They simply don’t want to support an organization that promotes different political beliefs from their own. August 20-26, 2017 is National Employee Freedom Week, a national effort to inform union members about their freedom to opt out of union membership if they choose and to make decisions about labor representation and the use of their union dues. Many recent scientific surveys have been conducted to see how the public and members of union households think about these issues. In 2015, National Employee Freedom Week asked members of union households this question: “Are you aware that you can opt-out of union membership and of paying a portion of your union dues without losing your job or any other penalty?” Surprisingly, over 27 percent of Oregon union household members surveyed that year answered No. This implies that a large number of Oregon’s current union membership of 228,000 may not realize that membership and some dues are optional. The right to work without third-party interference is more than an economic issue; it is a profoundly moral one as well. In America, no one should be compelled to join a union or to pay union dues in order to hold a job. For more information about how employee choice can benefit Oregon workers, visit oregonemployeechoice.com. Kathryn Hickok is Publications Director at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Oregon Takes a Big Step to Battle Opioid OverdosesCascade Policy / 40 d. 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
By Steve Buckstein For a variety of reasons, many Americans are becoming addicted to both legal and illegal opioid drugs, risking overdose and death.* Oregon just made it easier for friends and family members of those at risk to save their lives by administering what is known as the “overdose drug” naloxone. It “counteracts the potentially lethal effects of heroin, oxycodone and other abused narcotics.” It has become relatively easy to use in the form of a nasal mist and does not require a physician prescription. Passed overwhelmingly in both the Oregon House and Senate, House Bill 3440 was signed into law by the Governor last week. Among other provisions, the law shields persons “acting in good faith, if the act does not constitute wanton misconduct” from “civil liability for any act or omission of an act committed during the course of distributing and administering naloxone….” Adoption of such so-called “good Samaritan” laws in a number of states has been found to reduce opioid-related deaths. Some critics believe that such laws encourage drug use and hamper law enforcement efforts. But, if fighting the drug war comes at the expense of lives that could readily be saved, Oregonians should reject that war, and celebrate laws that make it easier to help those harmed by dangerous drugs. * The Wall Street Journal just editorialized on the opioid epidemic on August 15, noting that overdose deaths are rising much faster in certain states like Oregon that opted into ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion. Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and Founder of Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Portland’s latest attempt to centrally plan transportation patterns is backfiringCascade Policy / 47 d. 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
By Jessica Miller Portland has a longstanding history of attempting to socially engineer people’s transportation patterns, and the “Better Naito” project is no different. In 2015, a group of students from Portland State University created the idea of “Better Naito” as their capstone project. From April 28th until September 30th each year, Portland planners intend to enhance the lives of pedestrians and bikers along the Waterfront by reducing car capacity from two lanes to one on SW Naito Parkway and transforming one lane into an open area for walkers and bikers. The project was implemented and paid for by the Portland Bureau of Transportation (PBOT), Portland State University (PSU), Better Block PDX, and $350,000 from the Portland City Council. Advocates of “Better Naito” claim that “[f]eedback from the public was very positive,” but there is more to the story. After receiving copious amounts of negative feedback from business owners who see fewer shoppers, employees who experience longer commutes, and shoppers who can’t reach desired downtown destinations, the Portland Businesses Alliance created a petition to the Portland City Council in opposition to “Better Naito.” They claim the project is “harmful to our city’s economy and extremely disruptive to commuters.” It’s no surprise Portland’s latest attempt to centrally plan commuters’ lives is backfiring, but that hasn’t stopped advocates from making the project annual. To voice your opinion on “Better Naito,” visit the Portland Business Alliance’s online petition. Jessica Miller is a Research Associate at Cascade Policy Institute, Oregon’s free market public policy research organization.
|Cascade Policy Institute Endorses Referendum 301 to Stop New Health Care Taxes on OregoniansCascade Policy / 54 d. 17 h. 12 min. ago more|
August 2, 2017 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Steve Buckstein (503) 242-0900 firstname.lastname@example.org PORTLAND, Ore. – The Cascade Policy Institute Board of Directors has voted to support State Referendum 301 which seeks to refer certain taxes approved in House Bill 2391 to the November 6, 2018 General Election ballot (unless the date is changed to January 23rd by an Act of the legislature). The Referendum primarily seeks to refer some $333 million in new taxes, in the form of a 1.5 percent tax on health insurance premiums and a new 0.7 percent tax on certain hospitals. The Referendum does not affect the rest of HB 2391 which specifies how the state collects money to pay for the Oregon Health Plan, the state’s version of Medicaid, through assessments and taxes on health care providers. Signatures must be filed with the Secretary of State’s office no later than October 5, 2017. The petitioners request that all signatures be returned to them no later than October 1. Cascade Senior Policy Analyst and Founder Steve Buckstein has written in favor of the Referendum and now makes the following statements about why the Institute believes that Oregon voters should sign it: • The Oregon legislature passed, and the Governor signed, a bill designed to generate some $550 million in new taxes on health care, hospitals, and health insurance premiums. Ostensibly, this money is needed to help balance the budget, even after strong revenue growth, and to help maintain the controversial Medicaid expansion. • Since the bill’s passage, it has become clear that that nearly half the Medicaid recipients checked in recent months no longer qualify for benefits. This alone eviscerates the supposed need for most or all of these new tax revenues. • Referendum 301 only targets the most egregious of the taxes in HB 2391. It allows Oregon voters a say in whether or not they want to slap a sales tax on health care. • According to an Oregonian editorial, when word got out that someone might refer these new taxes to the ballot, legislative leaders showed “how they’re willing to protect that new revenue at all cost—even hijacking the referendum process at the core of Oregon’s identity.” • The Oregonial editorial went on to say, “Worse, however, the bill tosses aside the usual process requiring impartial groups to describe the measure on the ballot and in the voter’s pamphlet. Instead, [they gave] all that power to a committee made up of four Democrats and two Republicans.” They also moved the referendum vote up from November 2018 to a January special election that will cost taxpayers more than $3 million. As of August 2, the Governor has not yet signed this “referendum hijacking” bill, but is expected to do so. Petitions can be downloaded from StopHealthCareTaxes.com. They should be properly signed by registered Oregon voters and returned no later than October 1 to: Stop Healthcare Taxes 29030 SW Town Center Loop E, Suite 202, #514 Wilsonville, OR 97070 Questions to the petitioners can be addressed to email@example.com. ________________________________________ Cascade Policy Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit public policy research organization. Its mission is to promote public policies that foster individual liberty, personal responsibility and economic opportunity in Oregon. ###
|Climate Champions Don't Permit Dirty Fracked Gas Terminals BlueOregon / 56 d. 18 h. 22 min. ago more|
Submitted by Sarah Westover, a Jackson County resident and No LNG Campaign Organizer at Rogue Climate, and Nicholas Caleb, born and raised in Klamath Falls and the staff attorney at the Center for Sustainable Economy. The climate movement in Oregon has achieved incredible things in recent years. We’ve beaten back environmentally disastrous fossil fuel infrastructure projects, said no to new fossil fuel infrastructure in our communities, persuaded Portland General Electric to suspend plans for dirty fracked gas power plants, sued the federal government for its role in allowing and permitting climate change causing activities, and have started the process of transitioning our cities to a 100% renewable energy powered economy. Despite this progress won by the thousands of Oregon residents deeply engaged in the struggle to protect our state, region, and planet, we still have incredible difficulty getting Oregon Democrats to act on climate with anywhere near the urgency that is required. Even those who deploy some of the strongest rhetoric on climate simply cannot bring themselves to do what is necessary when presented with difficult decisions. For example, Governor Kate Brown still refuses to take a position on the Jordan Cove fracked gas export terminal and Pacific Connector Pipeline that, if constructed, would become one of the largest sources of climate pollution in the State of Oregon. After two prior attempts were denied by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), this never-ending nightmare of a project is back. This time, it is at the top of Donald Trump’s list of carbon-intensive dirty energy projects and will likely be reviewed by Trump's own appointed FERC commissioners, should they be confirmed by the Senate. As someone who has recently claimed to be committed to climate action after President Trump declared the United States would not uphold its obligations under the Paris Accords, Brown’s refusal to take a position on one of Trump’s top three dirty energy projects is outrageous. In the wake of the dismal 2017 Oregon legislative session, in which climate policy was completely neglected and the Residential Energy Tax Credit allowed to sunset, the Governor has increasingly deployed strong environmental rhetoric, signaling that she wants to be seen as a climate leader. In June, the Governor went to California for a photo op and speech detailing her commitment to upholding the Paris Accords. Shortly after, she announced she will travel to Germany in November to meet with global leaders about the Paris Accords at this year’s United Nations Climate Change Conference. Most recently, she announced her support for the Clean Energy and Jobs Act in the 2018 legislative session (after failing to use her office to push for urgent passage in 2017). These public declarations have been accompanied by social media surveys and fundraising asks (one disguised as a survey of attitudes on environmental protection) declaring that Governor Brown is “leading the way on implementing progressive climate policies” and asking people to “Stand with Governor Kate Brown and demand that our government make protecting the environment a priority.” It is imperative that politicians’ strong rhetoric be accompanied by equally strong action. And unlike comprehensive climate policy in Oregon, which requires legislative action (or a very well-designed ballot initiative), the Governor has the direct authority to influence the outcome of the Jordan Cove Project. She just simply does not want to take up the issue because it is politically risky. This continued silence has angered pipeline and terminal opponents in Southern Oregon so much that they interrupted a speech in Medford in April to demand a meeting, resulting in the first meeting impacted community members have been able to obtain with a Democratic governor in the past 12 years. As Kayla Fennell, Ashland high school student, and Deb Evans, owner of property through which the Pacific Connector Pipeline would be constructed, described in their April 16 guest opinion to the Medford Mail Tribune entitled “Merkley can’t have it both ways on LNG”: If approved, Veresen, the Canadian company behind the project, would construct a new pipeline through Southern Oregon to transport natural gas from mostly Canadian “fracked” wells to a liquefaction terminal in Coos Bay. The project would generate over 1,000 new frack wells over the next 20 years. The 36-inch diameter, 235-mile pipeline would cross public and private lands, requiring 95-foot construction easements and 50-foot permanent easements. The pipeline poses a fire danger, threatens waterways, fragments habitat, devalues private property and threatens tribal territories and cultural resources. The Jordan Cove terminal would be built in a tsunami zone; in addition to affecting wetlands, it would increase tanker traffic and release 1.5 million to 2 million tons of climate pollution each year. The LNG would be exported overseas. [...] But newer research is revealing the climate impacts of natural gas operations to be much greater than previously thought, in part because they release methane, a greenhouse gas 86 times more potent than carbon dioxide. One study by Harvard researchers concluded that the oil and gas industry may be emitting nearly five times the methane from the south-central U.S. than previously estimated; when the fracked gas is exported, emissions are actually worse than coal. In addition to environmental, climate, and seismic risks, the Jordan Cove Project is a direct attack on indigenous peoples. The Klamath Tribes -- whose waterways, fishing rights, artefacts, ancestral burial grounds, and cultural heritage are directly threatened by the Pacific Connector Pipeline -- have formally opposed the Jordan Cove Project along with the Karuk and Yurok Tribes. “We don’t want to mess around with the small stuff anymore,” Taylor Tupper, public information and news manager for the Klamath Tribes, told the Herald and News on July 21. “We don’t want to get to a Standing Rock (the North Dakota pipeline protest that gained national attention last winter). We need to organize now before we have a Standing Rock because we will. If this moves forward, it will happen.” Indeed, many of the same elements that were present in South Dakota inform the tribal opposition and conflict seems near-inevitable if Brown and others allow the Jordan Cove Project to move forward. Governor Brown has the power to influence the outcome of the Jordan Cove Project. Under Oregon’s Constitution and state law, the State Land Board has the final say over decisions pertaining to specific state-owned waterway easements for the Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector Pipeline projects. Governor Brown, as a member of the State Land Board, would be one of the two votes needed to reject any permit granted for the Jordan Cove Project. Equally important is that Oregon’s state agencies follow the Governor’s lead and her opposition to the project based on climate concerns would certainly inform agency review of the project’s required permits. Examples from Oregon, California, New York, and Maryland demonstrate that states can reject LNG proposals even when the federal government approves them. In 2007, the Land Board of the State of California denied the Cabrillo Port LNG facility, citing concerns about safety, damage to migrating whales, air pollution, and climate change. Recently, New York utilized its Clean Water Act § 401 certification authority to deny the fracked gas Constitution Pipeline. Similarly, Maryland denied the Clean Water Act § 401 certification for an LNG terminal and fracked gas pipeline in Sparrow’s Point, Maryland. In 2010, Oregon used its § 401 certification authority to deny the Bradwood LNG terminal and fracked gas pipeline, citing potential harm to salmon habitat and water quality. Indeed, the Natural Gas Political Action Committee understands how important Governor Brown is to this process. Since October of 2015, it has given over $20,000 in campaign contributions to Gov. Brown. Governor Brown can’t have it both ways. She cannot be a climate champion in Oregon, regionally or internationally if she can’t even be bothered to take a position on what would become the biggest climate polluting project in her own state, a project that she has the direct power to influence. Without action on the Jordan Cove Project, Governor Brown’s climate grandstanding is little more than an attempt to win environmental credibility without having to make a hard decision that might cost her some political points with large corporate donors and the building and construction trades. The climate doesn't care about the politics of triangulation, horse-trading, or campaign contributions. In Oregon, nothing short of opposing the Jordan Cove Project -- the single biggest fossil fuel infrastructure project proposal in the state and largest construction project, by cost, in state history -- can square Governor Brown’s rhetoric with the action needed to meet our climate commitments. If we cap fossil fuel infrastructure, begin to dismantle our existing fossil fuel infrastructure, protect our forests, and dramatically shift to a 100% renewable energy powered economy, then we’ve got a fighting shot to prevent runaway climate change and build a world worth living in. There's no way we can do it if we allow dirty energy projects like Jordan Cove.
|Ethanol ain't all it's cracked up to be! BlueOregon / 61 d. 15 h. 25 min. ago more|
By Bob Rees of Milwaukie, OR. Bob is the Executive Director of the Association of Northwest Steelheaders, 6th generation Oregonian, and a 26 year professional fishing guide. Across the country, fishing may be seen as a relaxing hobby. But as we know it in Oregon and Clackamas County, it’s a way of life. The Northwest Steelheaders work to protect responsible and enjoyable sport angling with good access to healthy, abundant and sustainable fisheries in the Northwest’s healthy watersheds. But Big Ethanol and their champions in the Corn Belt continue to come up with new ways to try and subsidize/mandate the use of corn based ethanol in our fuel that threaten fisheries and anglers. A new bill was recently introduced in front of Senator Merkley in the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that would violate Clean Air Act rules to allow the sale of fuel with 15% ethanol (E15) year-round. Pushing more E15 fuel onto the market may be a favor to the ethanol lobby, but it will jeopardize our natural environment, the livelihoods of sport fishers and the safety of consumers throughout Oregon. Thankfully, this bill, S.517 did not advance, but we know Big Ethanol will be back and we should all be aware of what their attempts could mean for us all. Flooding E15 fuel into the market will put any boat owner at risk. Fuels that contain more than 10 percent ethanol are known to cause unintended clutch engagement, corrosion and rubber swelling in engines — especially the small engines we use on our boats. If this bill passes, these engines will be at risk of damage, and those of us who rely on them will be stuck with the costs. Furthermore, the continued subsidization of corn ethanol is a losing proposition for the environment. Already, increased use of corn ethanol has contributed to the conversion of more than 7 million acres of grasslands and wetlands, and other habitat to into corn production. This has worsened water quality, and wildlife and fish have suffered. Now is not the time to double down on a bad environmental policy that will also endanger boat owners and their property. Senator Merkley should continue to fight bad policy like S.517 and help us Oregonians continue our sportfishing and summer adventures — while protecting our wallets and our fish runs.
|A tax credit for BS and six other Oregon tax policy changes you may have missed BlueOregon / 66 d. 23 h. 22 min. ago more|
Tax policy took center stage in the 2017 legislative session. From a corporate tax reform proposal that fizzled, to a successful effort to protect health care coverage with health provider taxes, to a far-reaching transportation package mainly paid for by an increase in the gas tax. And that’s not all. While less notable, the legislature enacted further changes to our tax system. Here are seven stories about Oregon tax policy you probably did not read about in the newspaper: 1. The Con-way corporate minimum tax loophole won’t be coming back from the dead Not long ago, some profitable corporations were getting away with paying less than the corporate minimum tax, even zero in some cases. These corporations were exploiting a tax loophole created by an Oregon Supreme Court ruling in a lawsuit brought by Con-way, Inc., which held that the trucking giant could use a tax credit to eliminate its minimum tax liability. The 2015 legislature put a stop to this end run around the corporate minimum tax, but only temporarily. The legislature placed a six-year “sunset” — expiration date — on the closing of the loophole, meaning that the Con-way loophole would return from the dead in 2021. But in the just-concluded session, the legislature got rid of the sunset, meaning the Con-way tax loophole is closed for good. 2. Legislature improved how Oregon taxes corporations that sell services While an effort to overhaul Oregon’s corporate income tax system failed, the legislature did tweak how the state taxes multi-state C-corporations that sell services. Previously, Oregon taxed C-corporations providing services based on where they had the largest share of production costs. Moving forward, Oregon will tax them based on how much they sell in Oregon. The need for this tax change was identified in a 2011 legislative study with input from the business community, which argued it would be more fair and make Oregon more competitive. In addition to improving our tax system, the change is slated to result in a small (about 2 percent, or $5 million) increase corporate tax revenues each year. 3. Putting expiration dates on tax subsidies proved to be a smart approach This legislative session reminded us that placing sunsets on tax subsidies and loopholes is a smart, fiscally prudent mechanism (the Con-way loophole sunset discussed above was an odd egg; it was an expiration date on a fix to a loophole problem). Over the years, lawmakers have stuffed the Oregon tax code with all manner of subsidies and loopholes. Fortunately, the legislature has also placed sunsets on many of them (though not all). Of the 16 tax subsidies scheduled to sunset, the legislature let all but a handful expire, and pared back several of those which remained. By letting these tax subsidies expire, the legislature avoided over $30 million in costs that would have been paid for by cuts to essential services such as education and assistance for Oregon’s most vulnerable children in the upcoming budget period. 4. Many, not all, rich “rural” doctors no longer qualify for taxpayer subsidies Every year, no matter how rich they are, doctors and other medical providers who work in “rural” areas — defined as at least 10 miles from a major population center — have been able to claim a tax credit potentially worth up to $5,000, effectively exempting from taxation their last $50,000 in income . The credit has proven itself ineffective. While an effort in 2013 to reform this subsidy for wealthy doctors failed, in the just-concluded session, the legislature put some limits in place. Medical providers making more than $300,000 a year will no longer qualify for the credit, unless they are general surgeons or provide obstetrical services. Also, those claiming the credit cannot do so for more than 10 tax years in their lifetime. 5. If you deal in tons of BS there is a tax credit for you While the legislature let expire a tax credit for biomass, it preserved the portion of the credit for those who produce and collect “bovine manure” for use in biofuel. In other words, a tax credit for bullshit, at $3.50 per wet ton. 6. The legislature could have just named it the “Special Klamath County Tax Break” The legislature created a new “Employee Training Tax Credit” for counties that meet a lengthy list of criteria. Some of the requirements are having a population between 60,000 and 80,000, having an armed forces base employing at least 750 people, and having “an agreement with an institute of higher education to coordinate efforts to promote enterprise throughout the county.” Only one county meets the criteria: Klamath. 7. The legislature proved it can’t go a session without creating a new tax subsidy for the well off, no matter how hard it is to balance the budget By creating the bovine manure tax credit and the employee training tax credit, the legislature passed an opportunity to go through an odd-numbered year "long" session without creating a new tax break. They can try again in two years, I suppose. Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.
|Get on with it, Oregon Senate majority: end the “suits and scrubs” giveaway BlueOregon / 88 d. 23 h. 52 min. ago more|
As the legislative session winds down, the Oregon Senate has an opportunity to correct a serious tax injustice from a few years back, while also helping preserve services that protect the most vulnerable Oregonians. With a simple majority vote, the Senate can and should cut the tax break for “suits and scrubs.” In 2013, the legislature approved a tax code change that reduced the tax rate some business owners pay on profits passed through to their personal income tax. Back then, the Oregon Center for Public Policy warned this tax giveaway would disproportionately benefit wealthy business owners, not the archetypical small business owner. Our prediction came to pass. Analysis by the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office shows over two-thirds of the tax cut went to taxpayers who earned more than half-a-million dollars in 2015. Senator Mark Hass — who voted for it back in 2013 but has, commendably, come around to recognizing its flaws — has aptly dubbed it the “suits and scrubs” tax break. It’s the doctors, accountants, and lawyers, not the coffee shop owner or the barber down the street, who are reaping the benefits of the tax cut. Think of it this way: as a result of the suits and scrubs tax break, a well-heeled lawyer pays a lower tax rate than his paralegal. While the better approach would be — as Governor Kate Brown proposed in her budget plan — to scrap the tax break all together and save $282 million in the upcoming budget period, the House Revenue Committee chose instead to scale it back. As amended, House Bill 2060 would limit the tax break to seven economic sectors and businesses with 10 or more employees. The bill would exclude accountants, lawyers, and doctors. It saves almost $200 million in the upcoming budget period. Those funds would fill in some of the remaining budget gap and thus avoid deeper cuts to essential services. Now Oregonians await action in the Oregon Senate, where HB 2060 appears stalled. If leaders of the Oregon Senate are concerned whether a simple majority suffices to enact this bill, they can put aside those concerns. An Oregon Supreme Court case in 2015 set the stage for a simple majority of the legislature to pare back the suits and scrubs giveaway. Recently, when House Speaker Tina Kotek asked the legislature’s lawyers whether HB 2060 is a bill for raising revenue requiring a supermajority, Legislative Counsel unequivocally said “no.” If that’s not enough to alleviate their concerns, they should amend the bill to provide a short timeframe for filing a lawsuit challenging the lack of a supermajority and to provide for expedited review by the Oregon Supreme Court if such a suit is filed. In short, there is no procedural hurdle preventing a majority of the Oregon Senate from ending this tax giveaway. For the many Oregonians who hoped to see our state finally make a serious investment in our schools and essential services, this legislative session is coming to a bitter end. Instead of seeing a game-changing revenue package, Oregonians are left with insufficient revenue, an inadequately funded education system, and painful cuts to essential services for the most vulnerable in society. While scaling back the suits and scrubs tax giveaway won’t deliver game-changing revenue, it would, in small but important ways, mitigate the pain many Oregonians who rely on essential services will feel. It doesn’t require a supermajority, as a tax reform package would have. The Senate majority needs to get on with it and cut the suits and scrubs giveaway and enact HB 2060. Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.
|Reason to hope for a commercial activities tax (CAT) accompanied by a CAT Fairness Credit BlueOregon / 96 d. 19 h. 8 min. ago more|
It’s never too late to hope that lawmakers do the right thing. Here at the Oregon Center for Public Policy, we hope lawmakers enact a commercial activities tax that raises game-changing revenue, so Oregon can finally upgrade our schools and essential services. If they take that bold move, the Center hopes they will include an aptly named “CAT Fairness Credit.” The tax reform plan the Joint Committee on Tax Reform has been discussing has contained several elements: a commercial activities tax (CAT), a credit against the CAT for businesses that pass profits (and losses) through to their owners’ personal income tax forms, and repeal of the corporate income tax (CIT). Hoping to make the plan more attractive to voters, the reform plan includes a new personal income tax bracket and the lowering of some of the rates in other brackets, and an increase in the Oregon Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). We’ll call this combination of features the “proposed CAT plan.” Unfortunately, the proposed CAT plan disproportionately benefits higher income households. Taxes go up as a share of income for all income groups except the top 1 percent, who see their taxes decline. They go up most for those in the bottom fifth of the income scale — seven times as much as for those in the top fifth. The top fifth in general, and the top 1 percent in particular, do so well because the repeal of the corporate income tax disproportionately benefits the wealthy. The change in personal income tax rates, while well intentioned, actually gives more benefits to wealthy households than to those at the very bottom of the income ladder. While the change to the EITC is also well intentioned, this increase wouldn’t help non-working adults such as the disabled and elderly, or working childless adults. Nor is it sufficient for low-income working families to be held fully harmless from the CAT. The good news is that the CAT plan doesn’t have to be so regressive. The plan could raise just as much revenue while protecting low-income taxpayers if the plan included a CAT Fairness Credit instead of the changes to the personal income tax structure and the expanded EITC. The CAT Fairness Credit would be a credit on personal income taxes based on family size and income. It would cost about the same as the combined impact of the personal income tax changes and EITC increase, and would target relief to low- and middle-income taxpayers. Like the current EITC, the CAT Fairness Credit would be available even if it exceeded taxpayers’ personal income tax liability, and would be larger for lower income taxpayers and for those with larger families. It would also be doubled for elderly Oregonians, who typically don’t benefit from the EITC. See CAT Fairness Credit Design (PDF). All else being equal, as noted in the charts above, a tax reform package with a CAT Fairness Credit reduces the regressivity of the proposed CAT plan when substituted for the changes to the personal income tax and expanded EITC. So let’s hope that if lawmakers enact a CAT plan they include the CAT Fairness Credit. Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.
|Republican health care plan is a disaster for Oregon’s Economy BlueOregon / 97 d. 20 h. 52 min. ago more|
By Kelsey Denogean of Portland, Oregon. Kelsey is the owner of Pieper Cafe and a Main Street Alliance of Oregon Member. I love owning a small business but the potential changes in health care legislation has me worried about my business’ future prosperity. As the owner of Pieper Cafe in Portland, I am proud to contribute to Oregon’s economy. Like many small business owners, I work long hours to grow my business and create jobs for our local community. I have been in business for 5 years and have seen my neighborhood grow and prosper. Although Portland’s economy is healthy, I am always worried about keeping the doors open and the lights on-- recently the proposed American Health Care Act (AHCA) legislation has created even more uncertainties. Since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was enacted, I have not had to worry about accessing affordable health insurance. Myself and four employees all receive healthcare through the expansion of the ACA. For me, having health care is a necessity. When I was 35 years old, I suffered a stroke. Under the proposed AHCA legislation, insurance companies will be able to deny individuals with pre-existing conditions, like me, health care coverage. The consequences of the legislation would force me and many other small businesses to close our doors and lay off employees. I am dreadfully concerned that Senate Republican leaders are secretly and quickly advancing their version of the House AHCA bill that would take health care benefits away from 23 million people – including many of the four million newly insured small business owners, employees, and self-employed entrepreneurs. Instead of improving access and lowering health care costs, the Republicans’ plan places health care out of reach for working families across Oregon and jeopardizes protections for people with pre-existing conditions. Their proposal also slashes Medicaid by $834 billion, threatening the health care of 74 million Americans who rely on Medicaid every day and creating huge deficits in state budgets. Meanwhile, the Republicans in Congress are giving $664 billion in tax breaks to the very wealthy and insurance and prescription drug corporations. The Republican’s healthcare proposal will be a disaster for small businesses, working families and Oregon’s economy. It is clear, if community members are spending more money on healthcare expenses then small businesses will lose customers, which will lead them to financially struggle, decrease involvement in their local communities and offer fewer jobs for Oregonians. Small businesses will no longer be able to contribute to the economy which will impact us all.
|The average Oregonian might rightly ask, “The CAT? Why all the fuss?” BlueOregon / 97 d. 21 h. 20 min. ago more|
Twenty-five cents for every $100 in sales. That is how much a company in the construction industry with $100 million in Oregon sales would pay under the commercial activities tax (CAT) being discussed in the legislature. Those 25 cents would be paid by the company, reducing the profit passed along to the owners and taxed on their personal income taxes. Compare that to what that company’s employees are paying. The average individual taxpayer in Oregon pays 24 times that amount — $6 on every $100 of income — in personal income taxes. Or take the case of an auto dealer with $35 million in retail sales a year. That dealership would pay 24 cents on every $100 in sales, compared to the $6 that the employees pay. Or consider a retail business with $1 million in sales per year — a sales goal many small business owners on Main Street would love to hit. That business would pay two cents in taxes on every $100 in sales. The average Oregon taxpayer pays 300 times that — $6 — in personal income taxes on every $100 in income. The average Oregonian might rightly ask, “The CAT? Why all the fuss?” Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.
|People pay taxes on gross receipts, so why not businesses? BlueOregon / 98 d. 13 h. 17 min. ago more|
I’ve heard some folks opposed to enacting a Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) complain that taxing gross receipts, rather than profits, is unfair. And yet the personal income tax Oregonians pay functions, in large part, like a gross receipts tax. The big difference is the proposed CAT would be minuscule compared to the income tax we ordinary people currently pay. The tax on personal income is a tax on receipts without regard to whether the taxpayer had a “profit” — money left over after expenses. Take, for example, two people with identical jobs and income, and who have different expenses, such as rent, student loans, or fuel costs to get to work. One person ended the year deeper in debt than when she started, while the other ended the year with extra money (“profit”) that she could put into a savings account. Yet, each would pay the same tax on their similar receipts of income. Both the personal income tax and the CAT use “adjusted” receipts in determining the tax owed. The personal income tax uses adjusted gross income. The CAT, in turn, would adjust receipts by exempting the first $3 million in receipts from the tax rate. According to the latest report from the Oregon Department of Revenue, the average personal income tax is 6 percent of adjusted gross income. By contrast, under a recent legislative draft, the most that a business would pay under the CAT would be 0.75 percent on Oregon sales of services above $3 million, plus $250 for the first $3 million in sales. Some businesses would pay less, depending on the type of industry to which they belong. Auto dealers, for example, are retailers and would pay a rate of 0.35 percent on sales above $3 million. This means, as illustrated in the above graph, an S-corporation retailer with $35 million in sales, such as an auto dealer, would pay just 24 cents on every $100 in sales under the proposed CAT, while the average employee will pay $6.00 on every $100 earned — 25 times as much. The CAT looks like a pretty damn good deal for businesses when viewed from that perspective. Chuck Sheketoff is the executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy. You can sign up to receive email notification of OCPP materials at www.ocpp.org.
|PRIDE-ish BlueOregon / 99 d. 21 h. 7 min. ago more|
In an 11th hour controversy, NW Pride Director Debra Porta asked Portland Police and Sheriff Deputies planning to march in this weekend's Pride parade to do so not wearing the uniform. Porta reported that the Northwest Pride Board was prompted to take the action by community members who'd had issues with police: "...We have two things true at once..." said Porta in a letter to Portland Police and Multnomah Sheriff's Office, "LGBTQ people have made tremendous strides, in being able to serve in law enforcement as out individuals AND we have a great many in our community still traumatized and targeted by law enforcement, as a whole. Given both of these things, we at Pride Northwest, as the entity entrusted to represent and honor ALL of our community, find ourselves caught in the middle. We have been approached by many in our community, who don’t feel safe at their own Pride, with a great many planning not to participate at all." Porta, the long-time leader in one of the hardest jobs in our LGBT community, rightly recognized the Board's untenable position - no matter what was said or decided, there were folks who were going to be pissed and hurt. Porta tried to thread the needle; while asking law enforcement to bag the uniforms, she also promised that no cop would be turned away, and later emphasized that the no-uniform thing was simply a suggestion. But the effort to make the ask more kindly and gentle fell flat. Multnomah Sheriff's Office pulled out of the parade, other than assigned details, and individual Portland LGBT police officers responded with predictable hurt. "To have my own gay community tell me to hide a part of who I am seems to be against everything they stand for,'' said Lt. Tashia Hager of PPB in a recent OregonLive article. Hager is absolutely right. PRIDE isn't simply about who we innately are, but what we have chosen to become. More importantly, Pride is an opportunity to tell the world how, through our individual lives and efforts, we change the constructs and old ways of institutions. LGBT people, in facing our individual struggles, have learned how to be progressive catalysts in every kind of societal enclave. It is precisely those proud LGBT officers that will lead police agencies away from the systemic "otherism" which is the template for bad practices and dangerous attitudes. The proud lesbian officer, the gay cop of color, the transgender captain - unafraid to proclaim who they are or what they do - should be beside all of our community in both celebration and in crisis. They are positioned to be the change-agents law enforcement so desperately needs within its own ranks. And for those in our community who are fearful and distrustful of all police, Pride is an opportunity to see that the policing community is not a monolith, but an institution that can become a greater and more positive community organization BECAUSE of these LGBT officers who walk with us.