Business leaders push legislative agenda in Salem

| Print |  Email
Articles - January 2013
Monday, December 10, 2012

BY LINDA BAKER // ILLUSTRATIONS BY RYAN LOGHRY

0113 TheRushOnSalem 01

Leaders of Oregon’s business associations are gearing up for what they hope will be another game-changing legislative session on major public policy issues.

During the 2011-12 sessions, Oregon business leaders helped pass ambitious education and health-care reforms designed to improve efficiencies and reduce expenses. In 2013, leaders aim to continue implementing those reforms while also taking on new challenges, such as escalating costs in Oregon’s prison and public employee retirement systems. It’s part of a grand plan to reboot the state’s economy by reining in unsustainable health care, prison and pension costs, then reinvesting the savings in the state’s redesigned but cash-strapped K-20 education institutions.

Business groups have other big issues on their 2013 agenda, including the controversial Columbia River Crossing, which may face its final day of reckoning this winter. The release of Gov. John Kitzhaber’s 10-year energy plan will also spotlight a few clean-energy and efficiency issues. Those issues expose some of the divisions within the business community, with large electrical users and fossil-fuel companies prepared to fight some of the clean energy/fuel bills championed by the renewable energy sector.

The ability of Oregon’s business leaders to pass reform legislation while also finding compromise on energy and natural resource issues will depend on the ability of different interests to work together. Bipartisanship in the Oregon House and Senate will be another key factor. In 2011-12, state legislators were lauded around the country for creating an unprecedented power-sharing agreement between House Democrats and Republicans. But in 2013, the Democrats will have a 34-26 majority in the House and a 16-14 advantage in the Senate.

“The reason the Legislature worked so well is the two speakers set the tone for a collaborative working relationship,” says Dan Jarman, a partner with CFM Strategic Communications in Portland. “The prospect of Tina Kotek [D-Portland] as speaker raises questions about how willing Republicans and Democrats are to have the same level of collegiality.”

Jarman was one of a handful of lobbyists and business associations interviewed about the 2013 business agenda. The state’s business community, of course, is not a monolithic group, and it goes without saying that individual businesses and industries are not always on the same side of a given piece of legislation. But with major initiatives on health, education and pension reform all coming together in the same time frame, most lobbyists agree on one thing: “We are all carrying a pretty heavy load,” says Jay Clemens, president of Associated Oregon Industries (AOI).



 

More Articles

Hall of Flame

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JACOB PALMER

A Power Lunch at Oswego Grill.


Read more...

Marijuana law ushers in new business age

The Latest
Tuesday, June 23, 2015
062315panelthumbBY KIM MOORE | RESEARCH EDITOR

Oregon’s new marijuana law is expected to lead to a bevy of new business opportunities for the state. And not just for growers. Law firms, HR consultants, energy efficiency companies and many others are expected to benefit from the decriminalization of pot, according to panelists at an Oregon Business breakfast meeting on Tuesday.


Read more...

3 trends in the garden business

The Latest
Thursday, April 30, 2015
gardenthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

Oregonians are scrambling to get their gardens in order for the summer. Here are three tips from landscaping and urban farming expert.


Read more...

Nine lives

Linda Baker
Friday, May 22, 2015
0f4f7bfBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Roy Kaufmann always lands on his feet.


Read more...

Editor’s Note: It’s a Man’s World

Linda Baker
Thursday, April 30, 2015
lindablogthumbBY LINDA BAKER | EDITOR

Earlier this week we posted an article from our May issue:  It’s a Man's Man’s Man’s World. The story covered the gender divide in tech from the perspective of male workers. Twitter didn’t like it.


Read more...

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Efficiency Boost

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY JOE CORTRIGHT

How conservation stimulates the local economy.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS