This week marks the end of week 17 of the Legislative Session. Next Friday is the deadline for bills to pass out of their second chamber policy committees to move forward before the end of the 2017 Legislative Session. Note that this deadline does not apply to joint committees, Revenue Committees, or the Rules Committees – all which contain many policy bills left to debate.  This is the last major bill deadline before the constitutional Sine Die on July 10.

Below is a review of the week and you can view a calendar for next week here.

Week in Review

 HB 2770 – Repeals the Gigabit Property Tax Exemption

The Committee on Revenue held a work session on House Bill (HB) 2770 which would repeal the property tax exemption available to a centrally assessed company that builds, maintains and operates a qualified project in Oregon – effective property tax year 2015/16. The -4 amendment adds a task force under the Oregon Business Development Department to study ways of incentivizing Oregon broadband development, comparing use of property tax incentives or other federal grant money. Representative Marsh and Buehler stated that they thought this was a step in the right direction to finding a more effective way to incentivize broadband development and bring businesses to rural parts of the State while reducing the fiscal impact.

Action: HB 2770 passed out of Committee unanimously and sent to the Joint Committee on Ways and Means.

SB 936 – Strategic Investment Program

Senate Bill (SB) 936 increases in increments taxable portion of value of eligible project property under strategic investment program for projects located in rural areas.

ACTION: The House passed SB 936 unanimously, with 2 members excused.  The bill has been referred to the House Revenue Committee.

 SB 333 – Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Program

The Committee on Finance and Revenue held a work session on Senate Bill (SB) 333 which requires the Oregon Business Development Department to consult with Employment Department and Department of Revenue in establishing and administering Oregon Industrial Site Readiness Program.  The proposed ‑6 amendment changed all references to “compensation” in SB 333’s employment requirements to “wages” because wage information is more readily accessible.

Action:  The -6 amendments were adopted and SB 333 was sent to the Senate floor unanimously.

View AOC Letter of Support here

HB 3146/HB 2904 Wage Requirements for Certain Economic Growth Programs

The Committee on Revenue held a co-work session on House Bill (HB) 3146 and HB 2904.  The proposed -A6 amendment to HB 3146 would add a 1.3 percent property tax requirement for enterprise and long-term enterprise zones.  Representative Holvey and Smith testified before the committee on the nature and goals of the bills.  Currently, several counties in Oregon face unique wage issues caused by temporary skilled laborers. In most cases, the skilled labor is required to complete an infrastructure improvement project which the small rural community cannot completely satisfy.  Therefore, skilled temporary workers are brought in at higher wages, skewing the county’s average wage higher.  This higher minimum wage is not reflective of the long-term residents’ wages, and can result in companies refraining from investing in the community’s enterprise zone due to the requirements that it pay 150 percent of the average family wage.  The bills aim to solve that issue by adjusting the property tax rate (HB 3146) and wage percentage (HB 2904) requirements downward to encourage investment.  The committee raised concerns that the average family wage was being used instead of the median, and pointed out that the two may result in significant differences.  Chair Barnhart thought seeing the projections for both the average and the median wages would be helpful, but wasn’t sure there was sufficient time to complete the analysis and write another amendment.  The committee expressed its desire to continue working the bills.

Action:  No action was taken.

Contributed by: Amanda Dalton | AOC Consultant