This week marks the end of week 16 of the Legislative Session. Below is a review of the week.
The Joint Ways and Means Capital Construction Sub-Committee held a public hearing for SB 5530, which increases lottery bonds issued for Oregon Business Development Department and the Housing & Community Services Department. SB 5530 covers multiple projects, including the Special Public Works Fund. Due to the amount of public input, testimony was limited to three minutes per project. Click here to view the coalition letter in support of the Special Public Works Fund.
ACTION: No Action taken.
SB 936 increases, in increments, the taxable portion of the value of eligible project property under strategic investment program for projects located in rural areas. The -A3 amendment was included to change the effective date of SB 936 from July 1, 2017 to 91-days after Sine Die to avoid interfering with any ongoing negotiations of eligible projects.
ACTION: The Senate Finance & Revenue Committee unanimously adopted the –A3 amendment and sent the bill to the floor with a do-pass recommendation, Senator Johnson will carry.
The Senate Committee on Business and Transportation held a public hearing and work session on HB 2152. No amendments were offered, and the key provisions of HB 2152 authorize non-matching state funds for advertising. Representative Gomberg testified in support of releasing these funds to small business development centers (SBDCs) for marketing since they are an underutilized resource. Mark Gregory, director of the Small Business Development Center, testified that there will be minimal impact on Business Oregon, and that these funds will provide more opportunity to advertise various seminars, trainings, and open houses to help small businesses throughout the state. Senator Riley asked if SBDCs would be able to absorb the impact of additional work, Mr. Gregory stated that they would be able to provide more tools and expand their collaboration with various state agencies to absorb the impact. Trevor Steel, also with SBDC, stated that, while there aren’t just people sitting at their desks waiting for more work, the seminars and trainings offered to small businesses are often under attended, and advertising would help fill those seats resulting in higher fee collections, thereby increasing funds to the SBDCs.
ACTION: The Senate Business and Transportation Committee unanimously sent HB 2152 to the floor with a do-pass recommendation, Chair Beyer will carry.
The Senate Workforce Committee held a public hearing for HB 2567, which requires employers with 100 or more employees to provide 60 days’ notice to employees and certain public officials before ceasing operations, relocating or ordering mass layoffs involving 50 or more employees. Representative Witt introduced his bill to the committee describing his intent to limit economic dislocation from plant closures and mass layoffs. Senator Knopp asked the Representative Witt to describe the key differences between the federal act and the proposed legislation. Representative Witt said the most significant difference was that the federal act is permissive on attorney fees, and HB 2567 mandates attorney fees for prevailing plaintiffs.
Chair Taylor asked where the bill came from – Representative Witt said recent adverse federal court decisions have presented a loophole relating to advance notice (i.e. “active employees” would be entitled to receive a notice, but in instances of bankruptcy employees are not “active”). Chair Taylor asked if there have been instances of this loophole in the state of Oregon – Representative Witt said he was not aware of any instances, but was concerned for the outcomes in federal courts and potential consequences in the state. Representative Witt also clarified the policy would not trigger unless there were 100 employees or more at a single site, or if there were contiguous sites producing the same product.
Associated Oregon Industries/Oregon Business Association testified in opposition to the bill, but said they would be willing to work on amendments in the Senate that could address their concerns for employer compliance issues. The State of Oregon Bureau of Land and Industries also testified with concerns for consistency with the wage security fund, and for how claims would be joined.
ACTION: No action taken.
HB 2312 updates certain terms and references used throughout state law to conform with changes to federal law associated with enactment of federal Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act.
ACTION: The Senate Education Committee unanimously sent the bill to the floor with a do pass recommendation. Senator Roblan will carry the bill.
SB 333 requires the Oregon Business Development Department to consult with the Employment Department and the Department of Revenue in establishing and administering the Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Program.
ACTION: Carried over to May 22, 2017.
The Senate Committee on Veterans and Emergency Preparedness held a public hearing on HB 2933. Representative Roblan appeared on behalf of Representative Boone to speak for the Coastal Caucus, which supports the bill, due to the impact the occurrence of the Cascadia subduction zone earthquake would have on coastal communities. HB 2933 removes the current $2.5 million per biennium cap on the emergency funds.
ACTION: No action taken.
The Senate Committee on Business and Transportation held a public hearing and work session on HB 2482. Representative Bentz testified that the bill will affect approximately five percent of Oregon’s population and only counties with populations of 40,000 and under. Ultimately, the bill simply amends a previous law allowing self-serve fueling from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. to allow 24-hour self-serve fueling, with the exception that retail stations are required to have a person on duty to assist in fueling if requested. Paul Romaine of the Oregon Fuel Association testified that the association supports the bill, and to clarify the requirement that an attendant be present at retail fuel stations.
ACTION: The Senate Business & Transportation Committee unanimously sent HB 2482 to the floor with a do-pass recommendation, Senator Ferrioli will carry.
May Revenue Forecast
The Legislature received the May Revenue Forecast this week. This presentation of the revenue situation is largely the trigger for the Ways and Means Committee and sub-committees to begin to finalize their program area budgets.
Key points of the forecast:
- First Quarter personal income tax collections were up $207.7 million (12.9 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- First Quarter corporate income tax collections were up $6.0 million (7.9 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- Oregon personal income was down $1.4 billion (-0.8 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- Oregon employment was down 9,348 jobs (-0.5 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- KICKER REFUNDS – PERSONAL: There is a personal kicker of $407.9 million projected for 2017. Not a certainty YET.
- KICKER REFUNDS – CORPORATE: $75.5 million of corporate tax revenue is projected to be dedicated to K-12 education spending in 2017-19.
- REVENUE CHANGES
- Projected 2015-17 Net General Fund resources are up $370.2 million (2.0 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- Projected 2015-17 Lottery resources are up $3.6 million (0.3 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
- Projected combined net General Fund and Lottery resources are up $373.7 million (1.9 percent) from the March 2017 forecast.
Contributed by: Amanda Dalton | AOC Consultant