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Business Growth & Development archive

Business Growth & Development issue archive

 

Oregon Business Plan releases framework to address state budget challenges

Working together under the Oregon Business Plan, the Alliance and partner business associations have developed a framework for addressing the state budget shortfall. Unveiled at the annual Leadership Summit in December, the framework includes three necessary components: 1) investments that grow the economy, 2) a curb on the unsustainable growth in government costs, and 3) additional revenue to provide stability and improve outcomes. The Alliance will continue working with partners and elected officials to move the Oregon Business Plan framework forward in the upcoming legislative session. 
(December 2016)

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Statement on defeat of Measure 97

We are pleased that Oregon voters agreed with the Alliance and the 26,000 members of our statewide coalition that Measure 97 was a costly and damaging proposal that needed to be defeated. This is not the end of the conversation, and the Alliance is committed to engaging in a collaborative manner with all stakeholders about how to best fund public services and ensure state revenues deliver the kinds of outcomes Oregonians expect. Read other elections results.
(November 2016)

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No on Measure 97

The Alliance continues to advocate to defeat Measure 97, a costly and damaging $6 billion proposed tax increase that will be on the November ballot. Measure 97 would create a new 2.5 percent tax on Oregon sales — not profits — of businesses organized as C-Corps, which generate $25 million or more in sales. If passed, Measure 97 would be the largest tax increase in state history, without any guarantee as to how the money will be spent. The nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office found that the average Oregon household will see their costs increase $600 annually because the tax increase will be passed through to consumers for everyday items like groceries, electricity, gas, insurance and medicine. Learn more at NOon97.com.
(October 2016)

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Defeat the tax on Oregon sales; NO on Measure 97

The Alliance continues to advocate to defeat Measure 97, a costly and damaging $6 billion proposed tax increase that will be on the November ballot. Measure 97 would create a new 2.5 percent tax on Oregon sales — not profits — of businesses organized as C-Corps which generate $25 million or more in sales. If passed, Measure 97 would increase the state’s general fund by $6 billion over the next two-year budget cycle, or $3 billion per year. That’s a 30 percent increase in the state general fund. If Measure 97 passes, consumers and small businesses will pay more for everyday items like groceries, electricity, gas and medicines without any guarantees for how the new taxes will be spent. For more informtion on Measure 97, visit www.defeat97.com.
(September 2016)

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Alliance generates hundreds of comments for Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup

The Alliance generated 346 public comments in response to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup plan before the public comment period closed on Sept. 6. The comments urged for a balanced and cost-effective clean up that protects the environment and promotes economic growth.
(September 2016)

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Act Now for a Healthy River, Healthy Economy

There are 36 days left to comment on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup plan. The Alliance needs every voice to tell the EPA that any plan must address public health, the environment AND protect critical family-wage jobs. The link below makes it easy to send a comment directly to the EPA. It only takes about 15 seconds. Please take a moment to submit a comment in support of a clean river AND jobs! www.rivercleanupnow.com
(July 2016)

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Join the fight against the $6 billion tax on Oregon sales

The Alliance continues to advocate to defeat IP 28, a costly and dangerous $6 billion proposed tax increase that will be on the November ballot. IP 28 would create a new 2.5 percent tax on the Oregon sales — not profits — of businesses organized as C-Corps which generate $25 million or more in sales. If passed, IP 28 would increase the state’s general fund by an additional $6 billion, or 25 percent, every two years — the largest tax hike in Oregon history. Ultimately, consumers and small businesses would pay more for everyday items like groceries, electricity, gas and medicines without any guarantees for how the new taxes will be spent. Read more from Alliance chair-elect Jim Mark in this contributed column in the Portland Tribune.
(July 2016)

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Initiative Petition 28 qualifies for the November ballot; join the coalition to defeat the tax

On June 6, the Oregon Secretary of State certified Initiative Petition (IP) 28, the $6 billion tax on Oregon sales, for the November ballot. IP 28 proposes a new 2.5 percent tax on the total Oregon sales – not profits – of businesses organized as C-Corps that generate $25 million or more in sales. This costly and damaging proposal is the largest tax increase in the state’s history and comes with no guarantee for how the money will be spent. IP 28 would create huge new taxes on many products sold in Oregon, as well as on services provided by Oregon employers, even if those services are sold around the world. Because it is a tax on sales, rather than profits, the tax will ultimately be borne by families and small businesses through increased costs for everyday items like utilities, groceries, medicine, insurance and gasoline. A recent report by the state’s nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office shows that the tax is regressive, most impacting those with the least ability to pay and that it will negatively impact job growth. The Alliance has joined the Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales coalition, a group of hundreds of Oregon consumers, taxpayers, small and medium-sized businesses, associations and organizations who have come together to oppose this tax proposal. Alliance members are encouraged to get involved at Defeat The Tax On Oregon Sales and connect with the campaign on Facebook and Twitter
(June 2016)

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Environmental Protection Agency releases Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup plan

On June 8, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released a proposed $758 million plan to clean up the Portland Harbor Superfund, kicking off a 60 day public comment period.  A 10 mile stretch of the Willamette River in the Portland Harbor was first listed as a Superfund site by the EPA in 2000. The site is contaminated from multiple sources and has occurred from more than 100 years of historical and current activities. More than 150 Potentially Responsible Parties (PRPs) – both public and private – have been identified as potential contributors to the contamination who are subject to contributing to cleanup costs. The Alliance is leading an effort to generate comments to the EPA asking the agency to clean up the river and take the economy and ability to pay into account by ensuring costs are proportional to environment and public health benefits. Alliance members are encourages to leave a comment at www.rivercleanupnow.com.
(June 2016)

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Portland Construction Excise Tax Proposed to Fund Affordable Housing

A construction excise tax (CET) of 1 percent of permit valuation was proposed by Commissioner Dan Saltzman to fund affordable housing. The proposed tax would be levied on new residential and commercial construction, including industrial development. The Alliance supports the need for more affordable housing but urged that the CET proposal be slowed down in order to provide more information about the potential impacts, how the funds will be used, the cumulative impact of proposed new fees and regulations, and to better understand how it fits with the other affordable housing tools being proposed. At a minimum, the Alliance urged that if the CET moves forward separately it should include a cost cap and ensure current projects are not impacted. Read the Alliance’s full letter.
(June 2016)

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Legislative Revenue Office releases report on IP 28

Yesterday Oregon’s nonpartisan Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) released a report on Initiative Proposal 28 (IP 28). A few initial details stand out:

  1. The measure would cost Oregonians more than $6 billion per biennium. It was previously estimated that IP 28 would generate about $5 billion. Today’s report estimates the measure would increase taxes in Oregon by more than $6 billion per biennium, by far the largest tax increase in Oregon history.
  2. The impact on the Oregon economy would be staggering. The report estimates that more than 38,000 private sector jobs would be lost as a result of this measure. The report states, “Our economic simulation shows that if IP 28 becomes law it will dampen income, employment and population growth over the next 5 years.”
  3. The report confirms that IP28 would especially hurt lower income Oregonians. The LRO report confirms that most of money raised by IP 28, if passed, would come out of the pockets of Oregon consumers, as well as Oregon small and medium-sized businesses, in the form of higher prices for almost everything we buy. “The impact of IP 28 on consumer prices means that the marginal impact of the tax will be regressive.” According to the report, Oregonians hit hardest by the tax would be those earning less than $21,000 a year.

IP 28 would be a multi-billion dollar blank check for state lawmakers to spend with no plan or accountability for how the billions in new tax revenues would be used.
(May 2016)

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Portland Harbor cleanup plan expected this month

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is expected to release its proposed cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund site on May 26. The Alliance has been working with impacted members to build a coalition that will generate input during EPA’s 60-day public comment period and advocate for a balanced and cost-effective solution that will clean the river without substantial harm to the economy.
(May 2016)

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Alliance and partners raise concerns over city of Portland's fossil fuel policy

Mayor Charlie Hales introduced a resolution stating that “City Council will oppose expansion of infrastructure who primary purpose is transporting and or storing fossil fuels in or through the city of Portland or adjacent waterways.” The Alliance participated in a work group to provide input, and urged for broader stakeholder representation and for more time to research and evaluate the potential unintended consequences of such a far-reaching proposal. The Alliance coordinated a response by a broad coalition of companies, labor and trade organizations that urged delay and expressed concern over the process, legal issues and potential unintended consequences. Comissioners Nick Fish, Steve Novick and Dan Saltzman introduced amendments to address some of the stated concerns. The resolution was approved unanimously by Portland City Council. Read the letter.
(November 2015)

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Portland City Council approves city-wide 'Ban the Box' regardless of new state law

The Alliance urged Portland City Council to reconsider its ‘Ban the Box’ ordinance, which was unanimously approved by Council on Nov. 25. The Alliance supports the goal of increased employment opportunities for those with criminal histories and supported a new state Ban the Box law passed by the 2015 Legislature and signed by Governor Kate Brown. The Alliance, Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and Building Owners and Portland Metropolitan Building Owners and Managers Association submitted a joint letter asking the city to allow the state law to take effect and not adopt something that sets Portland apart from the rest of the state. The state law “bans the box” on job applications, only allowing criminal background checks after an initial interview or after conditional offer if there is no interview and thereby ensuring no one is automatically screened out based on criminal history. Read the letter.
(November 2015)

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Alliance supports revisions to federal PATENT Act

The Alliance is urging Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Ron Wyden to support revisions to the PATENT Act, which aims to decrease unnecessary patent litigation and provide businesses needed protection. The Alliance supports the revisions’ intent to curb harmful and illegitimate threats through the current patent system. This legislation will help companies that are furthering innovation and technological advancements in the Portland-metro region focus on job creation and economic growth rather than diverting money to illegitimate threats and patent litigation. Read the letter.
(October 2015)

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Mayor Charlies Hales suspends proposed Ban the Box ordinance

After the Alliance voiced its concerns, Mayor Charlie Hales said he has no plans to bring a separate Portland “Ban the Box” ordinance to city council. The Alliance urged Mayor Charlie Hales and members of Portland City Council to suspend the Ban the Box discussion to allow time to evaluate the effectiveness of the state’s Ban the Box legislation. The state law, which the Alliance supported, bans the criminal history box but reserves the right for an employer to conduct a criminal background check after the first interview or after a conditional offer is made if there is no interview process. The Alliance supports the goal of increasing employment opportunities for those with criminal histories, but opposes a city ordinance because differing employment rules in a regional economy create confusion for employers that operate across several jurisdictions.
(September 2015)

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Alliance urges city to suspend Ban the Box discussion given new state law

The Alliance is urging Mayor Charlie Hales and members of Portland City Council to suspend the Ban the Box discussion to allow time to evaluate the effectiveness of the state’s Ban the Box legislation once it’s implemented. The state ordinance, which the Alliance supported, bans the criminal history box but reserve the right for an employer to conduct a criminal background check after the first interview or after a conditional offer is made if there is no interview process. The Alliance supports the goal of increasing employment opportunities for those with criminal histories, but opposes a city ordinance because differing employment rules in a regional economy create confusion for employers that operate across several jurisdictions. Read the letter.
(July 2015)

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Alliance advocates for Pembina Pipeline project to move forward

Mayor Charlie Hales withdrew his previous support for Pembina’s proposed propane export facility near Terminal 6 in North Portland citing environmental concerns. The project, which the Alliance supports, was originally expected to go to a City Council vote in June, following narrow approval by the Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) on April 30. Despite the mayor’s lack of support, Pembina continues to pursue approval of the project. The Alliance will continue to advocate that City Council honor the process by allowing a vote on the zone change and for the project’s approval given that it has the potential to generate significant tax revenue and quality jobs for the Portland-metro region without government subsidies. Read the statement.
(May 2015)

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Alliance advocates for employer flexibility in Ban the Box ordinance

The Alliance has stated its support for banning the check-box on an employment application that requires disclosure of criminal history.  However, the Alliance believes employers should have flexibility to conduct criminal background checks during the interview process if it makes sense for their particular business and their hiring practice. A proposal pending at the city creates an onerous process regarding the timing and use of criminal background checks and, as a result, the Alliance has raised concerns. The ordinance has not yet been scheduled to go before City Council.

Meanwhile, the Oregon Legislature is also considering a “ban the box” bill. The Alliance is advocating for amendments to the bill that would remove the private right of action enforcement mechanism and include a preemption of local ordinances to avoid a potential layering of different regulations with which a business must comply. The Alliance is also asking the city of Portland to delay action on their ordinance since the state considering a bill.  The state legislation has already passed the House of Representatives and is being taken up by the Senate.
(May 2015)

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Alliance supports proposed Pembina Pipeline at Port of Portland

The Alliance expressed its support for a proposal that would allow Calgary-based Pipeline Corporation to run a short pipeline at the Port of Portland’s Terminal 6 facility for the export of liquid propane to global markets. The $500 million facility would be the largest private sector investment in the city’s history and fully funded by Pembina. The city of Portland’s Planning and Sustainability Commission (PSC) approved the needed amendment to the city’s code by a narrow six to four margin. As part of PSC’s approval, they included a requirement that the Intergovernmental Agreement between the city and the Port of Portland included a $6.2 million per year carbon tax. The Alliance will continue to advocate for the project as it moves to Portland City Council while raising concerns about imposing a carbon tax on a single company. Read the testimony.
(April 2015)

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Alliance advocates for employers to be included in Ban the Box discussions

On Wednesday, March 25, Alliance staff testified before Portland City Council at the first public hearing on a “ban the box” ordinance introduced by Mayor Charlie Hales.  Aimed at increasing access to employment for people with a criminal background, the ordinance would prohibit most employers in the city from asking about backgrounds on a job applications. It also included provisions limiting an employer’s ability to conduct criminal background checks and potentially created situations where the city potentially could insert itself into private hiring decision processes.
 
At the hearing, and throughout the discussion, the Alliance expressed support for the goal of removing barriers to employment for people with criminal background, including support for “banning the box” from applications. However, the Alliance expressed concern for other provisions, which would impede an employer’s ability to ensure safety for employees and customers, stressing the need for flexibility that would allow individual employers to make decisions about when and whether to conduct background checks based on the company circumstances and specifics about the job in question. The Alliance also objected to the fact that representatives of private employers had been left out of initial discussions about this proposal.
 
Following public testimony, Mayor Hales announced he would form a work group to refine the proposal, as the Alliance had suggested.  The mayor asked that a recommend plan be brought back to Council in a month.
 
Earlier, the Alliance, along with the Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs and the Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, had released a statement supporting the goal of removing barriers to employment by “banning the box” on employment applications for individuals with criminal backgrounds. At the same time, the organizations urged that policies to address this issue should be balanced so that businesses can reasonably ensure a safe workplace for their employees and customers. Read the release and letter to Council
(March 2015)

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Alliance comments on Portland Development Commision's Strategic Plan 2015-2020

The Alliance submitted comments regarding the Portland Development Commission’s 50 percent draft of its Strategic Plan for 2015-2020, which serves as a roadmap for future job creation and economic prosperity in the region. Overall, we support the strategy’s emphasis on the importance of middle-income jobs and access to high quality employment, specifically its concentration on business development, recruitment and retention of traded-sector companies in major employment centers like Portland Harbor, Columbia Corridor and Central Eastside Industrial District. The Alliance also supports the continued focused on manufacturing as a cluster in the plan. The Alliance is advocating for greater emphasis on the link between large companies and small businesses as well as the importance of the central city as an economic hub for the region. Read the letter.
(March 2015)

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Alliance advocates for increase in Multnomah County owner's compensation deducation

As part of Multnomah County’s annual budget process, the Alliance is advocating to increase the owner’s compensation deduction to $100,000 beginning in budget year 2015-2016, which would put it on par with the city of Portland’s deduction. This adjustment would align the county’s business income tax to match that of the city’s business license tax, streamlining tax reporting for small businesses. Please consider emailing members of the Multnomah County Commission to tell them raising the owner’s compensation deduction is important to you. Click here for contact information.
(February 2015)

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City of Portland considers late night activity certificate for businesses

Alliance staff is participating in a city work group looking at the creation of a certificate for businesses that are open to the general public, operate past 10 p.m. and are not located in a building that provides overnight accommodations. The proposed certificate has morphed since it was first proposed as a new permit. The current draft proposal has training requirements for establishments seeking a certificate as well as regulations related to noise, security, lines, crowd management and other items. No date has been proposed for city council to consider this proposal. The Alliance will continue to participate in the work group and advocate against new, unnecessary costs for businesses.
(February 2015)

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Alliance opposes proposed energy reporting requirement for commerical buildings

The Alliance raised concerns regarding a proposal by the city of Portland that would require commercial buildings to report energy performance. The Alliance has noted that public disclosure of a building’s energy score may not accurately reflect the building’s energy efficiency, and that public disclosure may violate a building owner’s or tenant’s expectations of privacy. The Alliance is willing to work toward a voluntary program that is more fair and equitable while still promoting energy efficiency in the city of Portland. Read the letter.
(February 2015)

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Alliance supports Pembina Marine Terminals Inc.

Pembina Marine Terminals Inc. is proposing a $500 million investment to construct and operate a propane terminal facility and marine terminal for the export of propane at Terminal 6 in North Portland.  The propane, a non-toxic by-product of natural gas, would generate from Alberta, Canada, then ship to global markets through Portland.  The Alliance testified before the Portland Planning and Sustainability Commission on Jan. 13 in support of the 100 percent privately funded project, which will have benefits related to job creation, local procurement opportunities, and property tax revenues for the City of Portland, Multnomah County and Portland Public Schools. Read the testimony.
(January 2015)

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Alliance supports employers in proposal to remove criminal conviction box on employment applications

The Alliance has formed a task force to evaluate the proposal known as “Ban the Box,” which would disallow the criminal conviction box on employment applications. Proponents want to ensure that a past criminal conviction won’t automatically cause an individual’s job application to be screened out, even if the conviction was in the distant past. While open to reviewing the proposal, the Alliance task force is seeking to ensure that employers would not be prevented from conducting criminal background checks on job candidates. The task force will continue to meet to evaluate this proposal before putting a recommendation forward to the Alliance board of directors.
(December 2014)

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Alliance raises concerns regarding Late Night Activity Permit

The Alliance is participating on a work group formed by the city to evaluate the concept of a “Late Night Activity Permit,” and has raised concerns about the scope and need for such a permit. The city is seeking a solution to a variety of “environmental factors” that arise from entertainment-related businesses that operate past 10 p.m. The Alliance requested that city staff provide further definition of the issues they are seeking to address, as well as identify any gaps in existing city tools available to address those issues.  There has also been discussion about a certificate, set of best practices, and or a training/education program. The Alliance will continue to participate on the work group.
(November 2014)

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Alliance, Portland General Electric release results to public opinion poll

The Alliance and Portland General Electric commissioned DHM Research to conduct a voter poll regarding how people feel about the economy and job climate. DHM polled voters in four Portland-metro counties and found that respondents feel less concerned about how the economy is faring, but believe leaders need to stay focused on job creation, in particular growing family-wage jobs. This research will help guide the future direction of the Alliance’s Value of Jobs campaign as well as communications on policy issues. Read the poll results.
(September 2014)

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Alliance supports $100 billion Intel SIP agreement

The Alliance submitted a letter and then testified in favor of Intel’s request to Washington County and the city of Hillsboro for a 30-year, $100 billion Strategic Investment Program (SIP) agreement, which will pave the way for continued Intel investment in Oregon. The Alliance cited Intel’s impact on jobs in Oregon, noting that for every Intel job in Oregon, 3.1 additional jobs are created in the Oregon economy. The Washington County Commission and Hillsboro City Council approved the historic agreement; the Oregon Business Development Commission has also given final approval to the agreement. Read the letter.
(September 2014)

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Alliance raises concerns regarding city’s proposed “do not buy” list

The city of Portland convened a committee earlier this year to make recommendations for how the city could incorporate social and ethical concerns into their investment policy. The Alliance participated on this committee and expressed concerns with the overall concept. Ultimately, the committee’s report recommended that a standing permanent committee be established to advise city council on a do-not-buy list of corporate securities based on research into corporate practices related to environmental practices, labor practices, market dominance and other factors. The Alliance expressed concerns that such a proposal may limit potential returns for the city’s investment portfolio as well as sends a negative message to the business community that is providing jobs and contributing to our tax base. Read the testimony.
(August 2014)

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Alliance testifies before Metro Council in support of the Convention Center hotel

Metro Council is poised to take the next step toward moving forward with a Convention Center hotel, with Alliance support for the current hotel plan framework. . The Alliance is a longtime supporter of a privately owned Convention Center Hotel, so long as the proposal met certain parameters limiting the public investment and risk. The Alliance has maintained that the hotel will enable the region to attract more high-value conventions, thus realizing the full economic development potential of the Oregon Convention Center. With construction of a hotel, convention attendee spending is expected to increase to $600 million per year generating an increase of $11 million in state and local tax revenues per year that will help support schools, public safety, and other critical public services. Read the Alliance testimony before Metro.
(June 2014)

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Alliance opposes discrimination measure, Initiative Petition 52

The Alliance has joined other business organizations and individual businesses in opposing Initiative Petition 52, which would weaken discrimination laws by allowing businesses and individuals to discriminate against same sex couples by denying commercial services. As seen in other states, this could adversely impact business in Oregon by creating an atmosphere that discourages visitors and business activity. The initiative is similar to a law recently vetoed by Arizona’s Governor, which the business community came together to oppose. Read the statement. Read the statement.
(April 2014)

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Alliance supports OHSU's request for state funding for Knight Cancer Institute

The Alliance’s board of directors has voted to support Oregon Health & Sciences University (OHSU) request for $200 million in state capital construction bonds to construct two new facilities in Portland’s South Waterfront to house the Knight Cancer Institute.  If approved by the Legislature in February, the bonding will be part of the effort to match the $500 million Knight Foundation challenge grant. In addition to the economic benefits of the construction itself, the new cancer research investment is expected to result in 380 research jobs and establish Portland as a major national center for medical research.
(January 2014)

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Alliance advocates for job development as a priority in the Comprehensive Plan Update

The city released its draft Comprehensive Plan, which, once adopted, will guide the city’s decision-making for land use, transportation, infrastructure and other public facility investments for the next 20 years. The Alliance recommended that private-sector job creation and economic development be the plan’s top priority, and industrial land development be viewed as a strategy to fuel that growth. Read the Alliance's comments on the plan.
(December 2013)

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Metro responds to Alliance’s Oregon Convention Center hotel endorsement conditions

Metro President Tom Hughes sent a letter to the Alliance responding to the questions the Alliance posed regarding the proposed Oregon Convention Center (OCC) hotel. The questions were designed to determine whether the conditions for Alliance support of the hotel project had been met. Below, in italics, are President Hughes’ answers:  
  • Valid business plan showing the project can meet its debt obligations from the revenues generated by the hotel – The finance plan has been laid out in some detail at a Metro open house and at hearings in July and August. A combination of public and private resources will be used to construct the hotel: $119 million in direct private investment, $18 million in direct public investment, plus a Metro-issued revenue bond of $60 million, to be paid back by taxes on tourists staying at the OCC Hotel. The OCC Hotel will be privately-owned and operated, placing all operational risk on Hyatt. Public resources will only be used to support the hotel’s construction.
  • Visitor Development Initiative funds should be used to compensate for the hotel’s operating costs only in critical situations – Metro has hired HVS International and PFM Group to conduct a detailed analysis of the Hyatt pro forma and the expected hotel tax revenue to be generated. Metro’s projections show that the hotel will generate more than enough lodging tax revenue to pay back the revenue bond, with tourist taxes being the sole source for repaying it. PFM will conduct a set of “stress tests” showing how the hotel would perform under a variety of circumstances.
  • Metro, city of Portland and Multnomah County commit to no new taxes, fees or surcharges imposed on the hotel industry - No new taxes or fees will be levied to support this project.
The Alliance will continue to advocate for a fiscally viable and privately-owned hotel project that meets its conditional requirements. Read the letter.
(September 2013)

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Alliance advocates for small business tax relief

The Alliance has been encouraging members of the Portland City Council and the Multnomah County Commission to follow through with a commitment to increase the owners’ compensation deduction on the city and county business income taxes. A budget note was included in the city’s budget by Commissioner Nick Fish and Mayor Charlie Hales that calls for moving the owners’ compensation level to $100,000 from is current level of approximately $90,000. The Alliance has encouraged county leaders to ensure their business tax rules align with the city, including raising the owners’ compensation deduction when the city does. The Alliance has pursued this issue for several years and, more than five years ago, won a commitment from leaders that the deduction would be raised to $125,000. The Alliance encourages you to reach out to members of City Council and the County Commission on this issue. (September 2013)

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Alliance testifies in support of Oregon Convention Center hotel project

The Alliance testified in favor of Metro Council’s Oregon Convention Center (OCC) hotel project at a public hearing today. The project will bring many benefits to the Portland-metro area, including thousands of jobs, state tax revenue, and an estimated $180 million in new revenue to the state over the next 30 years. The Alliance endorses the project on the following conditions: The project must produce a valid business plan demonstrating the project’s ability to sustain its debt load and operating costs with revenues, Visitor Development Initiative funds should be used to compensate for the hotel’s operating costs only in critical situations, and that there will be no new taxes, fees or surcharges imposed on the hotel industry. Read the testimony.
(August 2013)

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Oregon Legislative Wrap-up

The Oregon Legislature adjourned its 2013 session on Monday, July 8. Throughout the six-month session, the Alliance played an active role in Salem, including delivering testimony, generating grassroots communications and drafting legislation. The Alliance, with our partners, was involved in lobbying and/or tracking the following legislation.

State Retirement Insurance
HB 3436A was a so-called "study bill" that directed a task force to set the stage for the development of a state government-run "Oregon Secure Retirement Plan" for private-sector workers. The Alliance worked with the business coalition to support an alternative study bill on this topic without a pre-determined outcome, which eventually passed.
(July 2013)

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Alliance supports fluoridation measure

The Alliance's board of directors endorsed the fluoridation of the city's water, pointing to the need for better dental health and longer-term impact of dental costs on the community. The board agreed with proponents of the fluoridation measure that improved health, particularly among low income and disadvantaged families, would result in reduced health care costs and improved productivity of the workforce. The Alliance also believes that funds for the fluoridation should come from existing rates.
(April 2013)

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Alliance opposes air emissions legislation

The Alliance is opposing legislation, House Bill 2336, that would require industrial companies to install Best Available Control Technology for all emissions whenever a permit is up for renewal. The Alliance opposes the legislation due to the significant burden it puts on manufacturing companies to renew their emissions permits, even if they were maintaining or reducing current emissions.
(March 2013)

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Staffing bill proposed in Salem raises concerns with Alliance

A newly introduced bill would put severe constraints on staffing agencies, including setting wage requirements, said the Alliance to Representative Margaret Doherty who chairs the House Business and Labor Committee. House Bill 2976 is targeted toward purported abuse of day labor employment, though the Alliance is concerned that the bill would harm the entire staffing industry due to its broad language. Additionally, there is concern that the proposed wage requirements will discourage businesses from using temporary staffing services. Read the letter.
(March 2013)

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Alliance urges members to submit comments on the Portland Comprehensive Plan

The city released its draft of the Comprehensive Plan, which guides decision-making for land use, transportation, infrastructure and other public facility investments over the next 20 years. These decisions can affect location, expansion and investment decisions by small and large businesses. The Alliance provided recommendations regarding economic development as a priority, working harbor and industrial land, transportation and central city. The Alliance urges members to submit comments online via the city's website. Read the Alliance's recommendations.
(March 2013)

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Alliance, Value of Jobs coalition show progress in job creation policy efforts

The Value of Jobs Coalition has released a 2013 update to its JOBS Action Plan. The update shows improvement in the plan's economic metrics - an increase in employment and wages - as well as progress on a significant number of policy goals aimed to spur private-sector job creation. View the 2013 JOBS Action Plan.

The Value of Jobs Scorecard for 2013 is updated to reflect action items in the areas of education, economic development, land use, central city, transportation, and government budgets and taxes. The Value of Jobs Scorecard serves as a resource for employers, voters and residents to learn how their elected officials are voting on the issues that impact business growth, job creation and the overall prosperity of our region. Moving forward, the Alliance will update the scorecard on an ongoing basis in order to track progress in real-time. View the Value of Jobs Scorecard.
(February 2013)

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Brazil trip a huge success

About two dozen people participated in the Alliance trip Brazil in December, in an effort to learn about the potential for greater business development between Oregon and Brazil, which has the sixth largest economy in the world. The trip was organized by the Alliance in partnership with Greater Portland Inc., and included visits with such Oregon companies as ESCO, Blount, Nike and Wieden + Kennedy. Economic development officials also had meetings with Brazilian companies and government leaders as part of this trip.
(December 2012)

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Alliance advocates for small businesses, helping to minimize impact of new Sewer Impact Fees

The Alliance convened a group of business people from Venture Portland, Small Business Advisory Council, Clean & Safe District and Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) Portland to communicate concerns regarding the city of Portland's Fats, Oils, Grease (FOG) program to the Bureau of Environmental Services and Portland City Commissioners Dan Saltzman and Nick Fish. The group developed a series of recommendations, which focus around outreach and program administration, costs and incentives, and equitable administration. Read the set of recommendations.
(November 2012)

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Value of Jobs candidate questionnaire responses highlight positions on job creation and economic development

The Alliance submitted a questionnaire to candidates in the Portland City Council, Clackamas County and State Labor Commissioner races. Through the Value of Jobs campaign, the Alliance has refined its focus on private-sector job creation and retention. These questionnaires are part of that effort to demonstrate the connection between private-sector jobs and a healthy region with quality public services. The questions focused on how each candidate will address issues impacting Portland-metro businesses, and how they will commit to helping increase private sector jobs and incomes. Read the results.
(September 2012)

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Alliance supports the Veterans Memorial Coliseum renovation project

For the past several years, the city of Portland has been engaged in a process to determine the best use of the Rose Quarter and Veterans Memorial Coliseum in order to spur economic activity. The Alliance has been involved throughout the process as the President and CEO, Sandi McDonough, served on the Rose Quarter Stakeholder Advisory Committee. After reviewing a number of proposals, the committee felt that renovating the existing building and upgrading the Veterans Memorial Gardens was the best proposal to create a community event and gathering space that has regional draw. Read the letter.
(June 2012)

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Portland water rate discussion continues

The Alliance has been working with stakeholders regarding the city of Portland's Water Bureau and potential water rate increases dues to a federal mandate-the EPA's Long Term 2 Enhanced Surface Water Treatment Rule (LT2)-that would require covering of all of the city's water reservoirs. Recently the city asked for a delay in compliance but the request was rejected by the Oregon Health Authority. The Alliance urged city council to do everything possible to lower the proposed water rate increase and to immediately engage with the Oregon Congressional delegation to seek an alternative outcome to LT2. The city's approved 2012-2013 budget ultimately did result in a lower water rate increase and council will have a work session on the LT2 issue. Read the letter.
(June 2012)

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Economic Opportunities Analysis letter

The city of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability completed the proposed draft of its Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) in April. The EOA forecasts the city's supply and demand for employment and housing for the next 25 years. In the most recent update of the EOA, the city refined its methodology for market absorption and constrained land utility, and found over 800 acres shortfall in industrial land, including a significant shortfall in marine industrial land. As a part of its Value of Jobs Campaign, the Alliance recently published its Land Availability, Limited Options study that also highlights the shortage of industrial land in the region. The Alliance shared its support for the EOA's findings in a letter sent to the Planning and Sustainability Commission. Read the letter.
(June 2012)

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Governor Kitzhaber seeks public input on Energy Action Plan

Governor Kitzhaber has released a draft 10-Year Energy Action Plan for Oregon. The plan includes specific initiatives focusing on clean energy infrastructure development, energy efficiency, and transportation improvements that rely on cleaner-burning fuels and more efficient vehicles. The public has until July 31 to review and comment on the plan.
(June 2012)

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Activists submit petition calling for independent pollution audits

Activists fighting against air pollution in Oregon recently submitted a petition with 2,200 signatures to the Legislature and Governor Kitzhaber's office. The petition requests that the state require large industries emitting toxic pollution pay for an independent audit of pollution control systems when they apply for or renew air pollution permits. The petition also requests the state require specific toxic pollution reduction strategies. This petition follows the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality's release of recommendations of air toxics solutions in the Portland area.
(June 2012)

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Alliance advocates for an increase in the Owner's Compensation Deduction

The Alliance has long advocated for increasing the Owner's Compensation Deduction for the city and county Business License Tax (BLT) to $125,000. Portland Mayor Sam Adams recently announced that he would use a portion of the funds from a business license tax amnesty to increase the Owner's Compensation Deduction. Although the mayor's proposal is a step in the right direction, it will likely only increase the Owner's Compensation Deduction by a few thousand dollars and will not achieve the goal of increasing the deduction to $125,000. The Alliance urged the mayor and council to adopt measures that would achieve additional relief.

BLT revenue grew by 10 percent between 2010 and 2011, adding $5.8 million to the city's general fund in just one year. Between 2001 and 2011, BLT revenue grew by more than $25 million, more than twice the rate of inflation, an average annual increase of $2.8 million. Over the last nine years, BLT revenue grew in all but three years.

Given the growth in BLT revenue, the Alliance believes there is ample opportunity for the city to dedicate a portion of the growth in the BLT revenues to increasing the owner's compensation deduction over the next few years. Dedicating just 20-30 percent of the increase in BLT revenue over the next few years would easily bring the Owner's Compensation Deduction to $125,000 and still grow BLT revenues for city services.

The Alliance will continue to track this issue and advocate for an increase in the Owner's Compensation Deduction to $125,000.
(May 2012)

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