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Chair's Blog

Key issues will have big impact on economy; small businesses July 2016
By DJ Wilson, KGW Media Group

DJ Wilson, president and general manager of KGW Media Group is the new 2016-17 chair of the Alliance board of directors.

I hope you all are enjoying another beautiful summer in Portland. I am thrilled this month to step in as chair of the Alliance Board of Directors. My first official task is to thank Chair Emeritus Mitch Hornecker for his steadfast leadership through, arguably, one of our busiest years in recent memory.
 
I plan to pick up the torch and, along with the board and Alliance staff, will continue to advocate on key issues where the outcome could have a significant impact on regional jobs and economic growth; especially for small businesses who comprise approximately 80 percent of our membership.
 
Topping that list right now are the Initiative Petition 28 (IP28) tax proposal, the Portland Harbor Superfund cleanup plan, and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We also will continue advocating for better solutions to housing affordability and homelessness, which continue to impact regional livability.
 
If you haven’t already, I encourage you to take a good look at IP28. This proposed $6 billion tax on Oregon sales is headed to the November ballot and is the largest tax increase in state history. While the tax would be imposed on C-Corps with over $25 million in Oregon sales, it is expected to hit consumers and small businesses particularly hard in pass through costs. Learn more and sign on to the coalition at Defeat the Tax on Oregon Sales.
 
After more than a decade of planning, there are now 56 days left to comment on the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) $758 million cleanup plan for the Portland Harbor Superfund site, and we need your voice. The Alliance has formed a coalition to say the EPA must take a balanced approach. Until Sept. 6, you can go to Healthy River, Healthy Economy and tell them that any plan must support public health and wildlife while protecting local jobs, small businesses and the economy.
 
Another proposal with broad, local economic impact is the TPP, which is awaiting ratification in Congress. The TPP is a proposed trade agreement between the U.S. and 11 nations in the Pacific Rim, who already are valuable trading partners. In fact, 44 percent of Oregon’s goods exports in 2014 went to TPP nations, and 88 percent of the Oregon companies exporting to these countries were small or medium-sized companies. The TPP has the potential to bring even greater opportunity to our region. Learn more at the Alliance’s website, Trade in Oregon.
 
Finally, this month we will restart the engine of our Portland Can Do Better campaign, calling for humane solutions to homelessness. We are encouraged by Multnomah County’s new shelter sites in Gresham, SE Portland, Sellwood and NE Portland. We also look forward to working closely with Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler to identify better options than camping. Let’s thank elected officials for the good work and encourage them to keep the focus on better solutions at Portland Can Do Better.
 
Being in the news business, I’m particularly passionate about helping you stay informed on these and other important issues. Make sure you’ve signed up for newsletters from the Alliance’s main website and follow the Alliance on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook. These are the best ways to stay up-to-the-minute on issues we care about and to find out about networking opportunities, programs, resources and member deals.
 
Speaking of networking, make sure you take full advantage of the more than 150 events the Alliance hosts each year. I’m looking forward to our fall lineup, which includes Governor Kate Brown at our September Breakfast Forum, Mayor-elect Ted Wheeler at our October Breakfast Forum and three signature Alliance events: Golf Scramble, A Place With No Ceiling, and Business Leadership Evening. I hope to see you there!
 
Leading this organization is an honor, and I look forward to working with all of you over the next year as we continue to support commerce, community health and the region’s overall prosperity.
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