|Business leaders push legislative agenda in Salem||| Print ||
|Articles - January 2013|
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Revenue: Show us the money
The Oregon Business Plan, an economic and policy strategy guided by a coalition of business leaders, does outline a long-term plan for funding the state’s beleaguered public schools. The idea is to restructure K-20 institutions to make the system more efficient, then rein in escalating costs in other parts of the budget to shore up cash-strapped institutions. With education restructuring and health-care reform under way, the focus is turning to other “unsustainable cost drivers,” says Ryan Deckert, president of the Oregon Business Association.
On the top of the list is reforming the state’s Public Employees Retirement System (PERS), which is expected to cost all public employers, including school districts, an extra $1 billion next biennium. Two items on the agenda are reducing the earnings rate inside PERS accounts and the elimination of an income-tax break for retirees who move out of Oregon.
Kitzhaber has also identified PERS reform as a key issue. But the question is what the Legislature will be able to accomplish — politically and legally. Many elements of PERS are considered a binding promise in the state’s statutory contract with public employees. Lawmakers, business executives, and rank- and-file voters will also have to “convince the unions that having some PERS reform is important for the economy of the state,” says Jarman.
Business leaders are also pursuing corrections reform this session, with a focus on developing a more “rational sentencing and corrections model,” says Deckert. He points to Texas and Kansas, states that have reduced incarceration costs in part by redirecting funds for new prison construction into a more efficient network of residential and community-based treatment and supervision programs.
The business plan doesn’t end there. In the end, restructuring and cost containment simply lay the groundwork for what Deckert calls the “big enchilada” — reforming Oregon’s much-maligned tax code. But actual changes to the system, which could include a sales tax and corresponding reductions in capital gains and income taxes, will probably have to wait for another session, as lawmakers are not expected to come up with concrete options until at least 2014.
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Oregon Business magazine's 5th annual
100 Best Green Companies to Work For in Oregon
Wednesday, May 29, 2013
From Oregon Translational Research and Development Institute: OTRADI today announced its plans to open and operate a 13,000 square-foot multi-tenant bioscience complex in the Willamette Wharf building at 4640 SW Macadam Avenue. Slated to be complete in spring 2013, the OTRADI Bioscience Incubator (OBI) will house up to six companies.
MEDIAmerica, publisher of Oregon Business and Oregon Home magazines, announces a new retail website: HalfOffOregon.com. The website offers lodging, dining, recreation and many other items at half off their regular cost.
As you probably know by now, The Vernon Company is a national leader in the promotional products industry with annual sales of over $60 million. We are a family owned business, led by the fourth generation of the Vernon family.