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April 29, 2010

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Democratic rivals tackle taxes

Democratic gubernatorial candidates John Kitzhaber and Bill Bradbury argued their positions on taxes and budget issues at a debate Wednesday night.

And while Kitzhaber pushed for introducing a sales tax or another option to reduce reliance on income taxes, Bradbury said he would instead cut income tax breaks by hundreds of millions of dollars.

Kitzhaber, who has pushed for a sales tax several times during his three decades in politics, said the state's heavy reliance on the income tax leads to huge drops in revenue every time the economy dips. He also expressed concern it could discourage business investors who don't want to pay the state's relatively high rate on capital gains and other income.

"The question is, do we want to broaden our tax base and what are our options?" Kitzhaber said. "Obviously a retail sales tax is one of the options, but there are a variety of other options as well."

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Startups compete for funds

Six companies from Eugene, Portland and Ashland are the first finalists chosen to compete for $165,000 in investment funds at the Willamette Angel Conference in two weeks.

The finalists include Arcimoto, DeltaPoint, InFuez, Good Clean Love, ShopDragon and VizMe.

Five more companies — two from Eugene and one each from Bend, Portland and Lake Oswego — will vie for a seventh slot in the competition, and a crack at the money.

The Angel Conference, a joint venture between the Eugene and Corvallis-Benton chambers of commerce, began last year and is designed to connect investors with entrepreneurs. The annual conference alternates between Corvallis and Eugene.

Read the full story at The Register-Guard.

Indie Hops plant goes to work

Indie Hops' new hop-pelletizing plant is helping craft brewers compete with the industry giants.

The $2 million plant's production process ensures better preservation of the hop oils and aromas desired by craft brewers.

"We want to change the form of the hops, not the characteristics," [CEO Jim Solberg] said. "We took some pellets down to Stone Brewing recently (the San Diego craft brewer famous for Arrogant Bastard and other hoppy beers) and the brewers were comparing our pellets to a competitor's ... and, without any prompting, they said, 'These are so much more like whole hops.' "

But there is a tradeoff: The plant runs slower than the pelletizing plants in Yakima -- about an acre an hour, Solberg said, or eight 200-pound bales of compressed hops. That fits in with the business plan devised a couple of years ago by Solberg and partner Roger Worthington, an Orange County attorney and longtime friend.

Read the full story at OregonLive.com.

Organizers discuss recall failure

The second attempt to recall Portland Mayor Sam Adams failed last week, and campaign sponsor Avel Gordly says fear and a lack of money hurt the effort.

Even a last-ditch fundraiser hosted by Columbia Sportswear President Tim Boyle was unable to raise enough money for the campaign.

“Some of the people said they were afraid to make Adams mad because they have to do business with the city,” Gordly says.

Without enough money to reach the rest of the previous signers, the campaign ended up far short of the 32,183 voter signatures needed to force a recall election by the April 20 deadline. Gordly does not foresee anyone else starting a third recall campaign.

Read the full story at the Portland Tribune.

Oregon biodiesel pushes forward

Biodiesel production in Oregon has successfully created a few jobs and earned environmental and legislative support as a promising alternative fuel.

But there is still much work to do before Oregon can compete with out-of-state biodiesel producers.

The most ardent of proponents, however, realize that developing a sustainable fuel source for the 21st century is accompanied by growing pains. Even Oregon's top producer appears to be a mere role player when grouped with out-of-state entries.

"We sometimes get positioned as the 800-pound gorilla in the Oregon biodiesel industry, but we make less than 1 percent of diesel consumed in Oregon," says Tyson Keever, founder of SeQuential Pacific Biodiesel, which manufactures the fuel in Salem. "Oregon uses 720 million gallons of diesel (annually), and we're capable of producing 5 million."

Read the full story at the Mail Tribune.

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