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|Archives - June 2007|
|Friday, June 01, 2007|
So many questions, so little time June 30. That’s when the Legislature says it’s going home. And as the pressure mounts, it’s anybody’s guess how some of the year’s top issues will play out. One thing is for sure, two interconnected topics are going to dominate headlines this month: the budget and taxes.
THE WAITING GAME
Where do business-related issues stand in these final days? “Snake bit” and “floundering” is how Lynn Lundquist, president of the Oregon Business Association, respectively describes the corporate minimum tax and the extended bottle bill, which his group has been working to get passed.
GIVE AND TAKE
Of the $80 billion the nation spent on gift cards last year, $8 billion went unclaimed. No one can say for sure how much of that sits forgotten in the wallets and purses of Oregonians, but a new bill may shift some of that money out of businesses’ accounting spreadsheets into a $15 million to $35 million annual windfall for the Common School Fund.
The idea, introduced by Bend Democrat Sen. Ben Westlund (is there anything he’s not involved in this year?), would treat gift cards like other kinds of abandoned property, like forgotten bank accounts or unclaimed tax refunds. Three years after a card was last used (or if it was never used, three years after it was purchased), the value would end up as unclaimed property with the state. Today, it’s often counted as profit by the issuing company.
In an effort to make the bill more amenable to business interests, Westlund’s camp has added amendments so that SB 460 would exclude gift cards issued by banks, cards that encompass multiple stores, and cards that are used in promotions.
A MEASURE OF THEIR LEADERSHIP
There are two ways to look at the Legislature’s decision to hand an amended version of Measure 37 back to the voters: politically necessary, or totally chicken.
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