Opinion: Stabilizing Oregon’s Fiscal Foundation Should Be Legislative Priority

Opinion: Stabilizing Oregon’s Fiscal Foundation Should Be Legislative Priority

The CEO of Oregon Business & Industry discusses the need for collaboration and why the group opposes emissions reduction bills that were unveiled today in the state legislature.
Oregon’s business community is as united as it has been for years.

The creation of Oregon Business & Industry on July 1, 2017 reflects a common vision that brings businesses together: For Oregon to fulfill its potential, businesses must help lead the way into a new competitive landscape that is being reshaped by demographic, environmental and economic changes.

The successful effort in 2016 to defeat Measure 97, a poorly conceived revenue proposal to impose a gross receipts tax on Oregon businesses, has been the most visible display of the business community’s resolve to work together on key issues.

But OBI and its members know that simply opposing bad policy is not enough to move Oregon forward. We also must collaborate on solutions to the systemic challenges that hold back our state from realizing it’s great potential so that all Oregonians can flourish.

As the first President and Chief Executive Officer of OBI and a former Legislator, I am committed to increasing collaboration between the state’s business organizations and elected leaders in pursuit of proactive policy solutions to Oregon’s biggest obstacles. When we work together on common goals, all Oregonians win.

The 2018 short session is likely to draw attention to two high-profile issues: carbon-reduction policy and the state’s fiscal imbalance.

Carbon policy, specifically a cap-and-trade proposal, appears to be the bigger priority for legislative leaders. OBI believes this is not the time for such a complex proposal. To see why, look at the trend lines on the two issues:

Oregon already is one of the lowest carbon-emitting states, in part because Oregon businesses have made significant gains in reducing energy use and carbon emissions.

Businesses are committed to doing more and the state is on track to further reduce CO2 emissions. In recent years the Legislature has passed landmark legislation to decarbonize significant portions of our economy. These factors are evidence that our state is moving in the direction that Oregonians support, and we are doing it at a responsible pace.

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