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1-21-2020

Purchased anything anyplace lately? 
Frustrated with the bag charges?

The LEGISLATURE MANDATED THE BAG CHARGE. 

If you are noticing increases to prices, here are a few of the reasons:

  • Gross Receipts Tax (Commercial Activities Tax)
  • Based on the gross amount not the profit of the company.
  • Calculated after the first 1 million gross sales
  • Minimum wage increase
  • Plastic bag ban

Just a few businesses challenges.

Upcoming price increases:

  • Cap and Trade
    • Projected 28 cent per gallon gas price increase

1-14-2020

Gross Receipts Tax (Corporate Activity Tax or CAT) Instructions

Registration reminder
Registration for the CAT opened earlier this month through the Department of Revenue’s Revenue Online system found at www.oregon.gov.dor.

To register, individuals doing business in Oregon will need their name, and their social security number or individual taxpayer identification number. Businesses will need their legal name and federal employer identification number.

General guidance on how to calculate a business’s Corporate Activity Tax (CAT) liability has been added to the FAQ on the CAT page of the Oregon Department of Revenue’s website at www.oregon.gov/dor.

The new law requires businesses with Oregon commercial activity in excess of $750,000 to register for the Corporate Activity Tax. Once they reach that threshold businesses must register within 30 days. Businesses can choose to register early.

12-17-2019

Single Use Plastic Bag Prohibition Implementation

Rules from DEQ just came out. Starting Jan 1, 2020 businesses can no longer provide single-use bags and must charge a fee for certain types of reusable bags. Businesses out of compliance will be subject to maximum fine of $250 Class D violation which are enforced by law enforcement officers who may issue a citation to a retailer or restaurant. The $250 fine can be assessed each day. Click here for more information.

Gross Receipts Tax Implementation

Starting Jan 1, 2020 the Gross Receipts Tax (aka Commercial Activities Tax) goes into affect. Rules and regulations have been written. Here are a few:

  1. The law does NOT prohibit any business subject to the tax from passing the tax along to its customers
  2. Law requires businesses with excess of $750,000 to register. Once they reach that threshold, businesses must register within 30 days.

If you don’t know when the $750,000 threshold will be reached, you may register early if you choose.

12-10-2019

Gross Receipts Tax Implementation

Starting Jan 1, 2020 the Gross Receipts Tax (aka Commercial Activities Tax) goes into affect. Rules and regulations have been written. Here are a few:

The law does NOT prohibit any business subject to the tax from passing the tax along to its customers
Law requires businesses with excess of $750,000 to register. Once they reach that threshold, businesses must register within 30 days.
If you don’t know when the 750,000 threshold will be reached, you may register early if you choose.

Single Use Plastic Bag Prohibition Implementation

Rules from DEQ just came out. Starting Jan 1, 2020 businesses can no longer provide single-use bags and must charge a fee for certain types of reusable bags. Businesses out of compliance will be subject to maximum fine of $250 Class D violation which are enforced by law enforcement officers who may issue a citation to a retailer or restaurant. The $250 fine can be assessed each day. Click here for more information.

07-02-2019

At the 11th hour of the 2019 session, priority bills (both good and bad) received their final judgement. Here are some of the closely watched bills that made their way through the session in the final 24 hours:

  • HB 2005 Family Paid Leave is now law (avoiding ballot measure threat)
  • HB 2007 Diesel Fuel passed (different rules for tri county area compared to the rest of the state. A negotiated bill)
  • HB 2001 Single Family permits is now law. Changing the landscape of Gresham and all of the surrounding communities of over 10,000 people, the bill requires cities to allow duplexes in single family zones.
  • HB 5024Budget bill that includes Community College funding increases above Governor's budget
  • SB 123Equal Pay technical fix bill passes. Bill is full of technical fixes to previously passed Equal Pay legislation
  • HB 2020 Cap and Trade died in committee

Whew ! The session is over and now the hard work begins. Our Chamber members have to figure out a way to navigate through all of the new laws, regulations and financial challenges in order to maintain a prosperous, competitive business model.

Your individual industry lobby and associations will have more specifics relating to you, most specifically regarding the gross receipts tax passed earlier in the session. Let me know if I can help answers any lingering questions you might have about the session. I will try to help.

-Lynn Snodgrass

PS: Don’t forget, minimum wage increases start July 1.

06-25-2019

Cap and Trade was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Senate Republicans left the building. Five months of battering on small businesses might have had more to do with the departure than what is being said. If Cap and Trade had been the only heavy new tax burden on Oregon businesses, the weight of that single legislation might not have prompted the Senators to leave the building.

Committee meeting after committee meeting, the small business voices were shunned, ignored, belittled and minimized. The tax burdens piled on, one by one: Gross Receipts tax, Family Paid Leave, Cap and Trade, minimum wage increases, just to mention the top few. With backs against the wall and no other way to speak on behalf of business of all sizes, the senate republicans left the building.

Are they still working? Many would say yes. Like many business models, working from “home” is acceptable. They are working off site, on behalf of those the super-majority has ignored.

Leaving the work site and striking is a show of displeasure. Do teachers get fined for striking? No. The Senate Republicans are “striking”.

Their action was after 5 months of super-majority contempt for the business community. It was 5 months in coming but Cap and Trade was the straw that broke the camel's back.

06-18-2019

Cap and Trade was the straw that broke the camel's back.

The Senate Republicans left the building. Five months of battering on small businesses might have had more to do with the departure than what is being said. If Cap and Trade had been the only heavy new tax burden on Oregon businesses, the weight of that single legislation might not have prompted the Senators to leave the building. Committee meeting after committee meeting, the small business voices were shunned, ignored, belittled and minimized. The tax burdens piled on, one by one: Gross Receipts tax, Family Paid Leave, Cap and Trade, minimum wage increases, just to mention the top few. With backs against the wall and no other way to speak on behalf of business of all sizes, the senate republicans left the building. Are they still working? Many would say yes. Like many business models, working from “home” is acceptable. They are working off site, on behalf of those the super-majority has ignored.

Leaving the work site and striking is a show of displeasure. Do teachers get fined for striking? No. The Senate Republicans are “striking”. But their action was after 5 months of super-majority contempt for the business community. It was 5 months in coming but Cap and Trade was the straw that broke the camel's back.

06-11-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • Cap-and-Trade (HB 2020) - now estimated at $0.22 per gallon in 2021. OSCC has been working hard on a solution that protects businesses and ratepayers as well as the transportation sector. These efforts (-102 amendment) would protect local businesses and consumers from the negative impacts of cap-and-trade and give the Legislature time to sort out numerous constitutional challenges before cap-and-trade is fully implemented. The amendments are just now getting traction, but this bill is being fast-tracked. If the Legislature adopts the -102 amendment, it is our business amendment.

 

  • Paid Family Leave (HB 2005) The draft policy under consideration is modeled loosely on Washington and includes:
    • 12-week paid family and medical leave annually
    • All employees are eligible after they've earned $1000
    • New state-run insurance program, funded through payroll tax contributions
    • Payroll tax of up to 1%:
    • 60% employee paid
    • 40% employer paid

Requirements come into effect after 90 days of employment.

06-04-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • Cap-and-Trade (HB 2020). Cap-and-Trade is moving again. We are expecting a Ways & Means sub-committee vote on Wednesday night. We are expecting a Ways & Means full committee vote as early as Friday morning. Business groups have been promised a full committee vote on the business amendments to the bill.

The politics of HB 2020 are still complex and may yet throw a monkey wrench into the session. Passage is still uncertain in the Senate. Many business organizations, including OSCC, view the legislation as an existential threat to our manufacturing community, particularly on the heels of the newly-minted $2.8 billion gross receipts tax.

  • Paid Family Leave (HB 2005) OSCC is still awaiting amendments for a new paid family leave bill that would implement a new 12-week paid family leave program for all businesses down to the first employee.

05-28-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • Cap-and-Trade (HB 2020). No activity on Cap-and-Trade last week. We are still waiting for the industry-approved amendments that OSCC and other business groups will be supporting as the bill sits in the Ways & Means Committee. The major compromise on this bill is the extension of implementation dates.
  • Paid Family Leave (HB 2005). Compromise bill. Waiting on new language. Still affects businesses with one employee or more. 12 weeks instead of 36 weeks and employee must be employed at least 90 days before qualified to request.
  • PERS Reform took center stage last week. SB 1049. Barely passed Senate. The democrats needed 3 republicans to vote on bill. This is a very small movement to solving the PERS problem. And the biggest cost savings comes from a re-amortization of pension debt. Over 2/3 of the savings comes from this re-financing provision.

05-21-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • The $2 billion (now $2.8 billion) Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427) passed the House on a party line vote, 37-21. A gross receipts tax rate is now 0.57% on Oregon sales over $1 million.
  • PERS reform proposal has not been revealed.
  • Cap and Trade (HB 2020) The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction will unveil yet another re-write of the Cap-and-Trade. Currently it's 16 cents per gallon plus utility rate increases for everyone.
  • Family paid leave proposal that would require both employers (with 1 or more employees) and workers to pay new taxes.
  • HB 3063 - would require all children to receive vaccines in order to attend school. This would change the current law allowing parents and doctors to determine necessity of such vaccines. The bill will be voted on in the House. If you would like to share your opinion regarding this issue, contact your Representative or Senator very soon.

05-14-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • The $2 billion (now $2.8 billion) Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427) passed the House and Senate on a party line vote. A gross receipts tax rate is now 0.57% on Oregon sales over $1 million. If your gross receipts are 1.7 million, your tax would be $9,690. If your gross receipts are 1.8 million, your tax would be $10,260. If your gross is 1.2 million, your tax would be $6,840. A 35% deduction from gross receipts for cost of labor is allowed.
  • Cap and Trade (HB 2020) The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction will unveil yet another re-write of the Cap-and-Trade. Currently it's 16 cents per gallon plus utility rate increases for everyone.

Contact your legislator if you would like to comment. It's never too late. Check with Chamber staff if you would like assistance in how to send in your comments.

05-07-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

  • The $2 billion (now $2.8 billion) Commercial Activity Tax (HB 3427) passed the House on a party line vote, 37-21. A gross receipts tax rate is now 0.57% on Oregon sales over $1 million.
  • PERS reform proposal has not been revealed.
  • Cap and Trade (HB 2020) The Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction will unveil yet another re-write of the Cap-and-Trade. Currently it's 16 cents per gallon plus utility rate increases for everyone.
  • Family paid leave proposal that would require both employers (with 1 or more employees) and workers to pay new taxes.
  • HB 3063 - would require all children to receive vaccines in order to attend school. This would change the current law allowing parents and doctors to determine necessity of such vaccines. The bill will be voted on in the House. If you would like to share your opinion regarding this issue, contact your Representative or Senator very soon.

04-30-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

Among new tax burdens still expected to pass:

  • 16 cents a gallon increase (Cap & Trade HB 2020)
  • Gross Receipts Tax on $1,000,000 or more. (HB 3427) Some grocery items will be exempted but to cover that loss in revenue the percentage is moving from .49% to .67%.
  • Family paid leave of 26 weeks for companies with one employee or more. (HB 2005)

No PERS reform on the table yet except for a SAIF fund raid from the Governor.

Community Colleges still haven’t received any funding support.

04-23-2019

Super Majority in the legislature = a Runaway Train

There is no stopping or slowing the train down.

All business sizes are impacted by……

$2,000,000,000 Gross Receipts Tax (HB 3427)
$500,000,000 health care tax (HB 2269)
$1,000,000,000+ new family leave tax (HB 2005)
16 cents a gallon cap and trade (HB 2020)

This is the short list………….

04-16-2019

Oregon Tax Plan Released

Gross Receipts Tax for K-12? Without a constitutional amendment, the Gross Receipts Tax revenue goes straight into the General Fund.

At a high level, it is a 0.49% gross receipts tax with a 25% deduction for either business inputs or labor costs, whichever is greater. The tax applies to all business entities with gross sales in excess of $1 million.

PERS Reform Package - Governor Brown wants to money from SAIF, your kicker, capitol gains, estate taxes, and some from public employees.

04-02-2019

Activity on Major Issues:

Business Tax Increase - A pure gross receipts tax (old name Measure 97, new name Commercial Activity Tax) is in the works. It is a new business tax adding more than $2 billion in revenue each biennium to the General Fund. The goal is to fund K-12 however unless it is in the state constitution, funds collected can NOT be dedicated to any specific pot. The $2 billion will go into the general fund, where it goes from there will be decided each session.

  • At this point it does not appear the PERS reform or any other government cost savings will accompany this tax proposal.

Marijuana Accommodation - (SB 379) would undermine and nullify all employers' workplace drug-free policies and would require employers to accommodate off-duty marijuana use.

Paid Family Leave - The bill gives the Employment Department the authority to levy up to a 1% payroll tax on employers and a 1% income tax on employees to implement a 26-week per year paid family leave program.

This bill would apply to all employers with at least one employee.

03-26-2019

Activity on Major Issues:

  • Business Tax Increase - Remember Measure 97, the Gross Receipts Tax that Oregonians rejected 2 years ago? It's on its way back with a new name. The Democrat leadership is leaning toward selecting a Commercial Activity Tax, which is a pure gross receipts tax, as the basis for implementing a new business tax to add more than $2 billion in revenue.
  • PAID FAMILY LEAVE - Would SIGNIFICANTLY alter Oregon's business climate. Two of the bills under consideration:
    • HB 3031
      • Applies to employers with 1+ employees
      • Mandates 32 weeks of paid and protected family and medical leave each year
      • Creates state-run family insurance program administered by DCBS
      • Establishes new payroll tax up to 1% to pay for the family-leave insurance
    • SB 947
      • Expands OFLA eligibility to 1+ employees
      • Mandates 24 weeks of paid and protected family leave AND and additional 24 weeks of protected family and medical leave for some types of leave each year - total leave could be 48 weeks!
      • Requires employer to pay 100% of employee wages while employee is on paid leave

03-19-2019

Upcoming Key Issues:

  • Family Leave Hearing - On Monday, March 25 at 6pm, the House Business & Labor Committee and Senate Workforce Committee plan to host a joint public hearing on paid family & medical leave bills that would SIGNIFICANTLY alter Oregon's business climate.

What do the bills do?

HB 3031 (requires 3/5 vote)

  • Applies to employers with 1+ employees
  • Mandates 32 weeks of paid and protected family and medical leave each year
  • Establishes new payroll tax of up to 1%:
    • 5% paid by employers
    • 5% paid by employees
    • Creates state run family insurance program
    • Doesn't allow employers to provide substantially similar plans/ currently existing plans

HB 3140 / SB 947 (doesn't require 3/5 vote)

  • Expands OFLA eligibility to 1+ employees
  • Expands family member definition
  • Mandates 24 weeks of paid and protected leave AND an additional 24 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave each year
    • Requires 100% of employee wages to be paid 100% by employers while employee is on leave
  • Cap & Trade - We are reaching out to Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson. for a sit down with her about Cap & Trade. If you would like to be included in this discussion, please email lynn.ceo@greshamchamber.org. No time or date has been set yet.

 

Activity on Major Issues:

  • Corporate Tax Increases. It appears the committee is leaning toward selecting a Commercial Activity Tax, which is a pure gross receipts tax, as the basis for implementing a new business tax. The Commercial Activity Tax is being discussed 'in addition to' current business income taxes, not 'in lieu of.'
  • Kicker (HB 2975) - HB 2975 includes an accounting change that reduced the upcoming kicker by over $100 million by transferring this money into the next biennium. HB 2975 adds an additional $100 million of revenue into the 2019-21 budget by taking it out of the $748 million personal income kicker due to taxpayers next year.

03-12-2019

Activity on Major Issues:

  • What is Cap & Trade? (HB 2020) - Transportation fuels are considered "covered emissions," meaning there will be fuel cost increases. Residential, commercial, and industrial natural gas rates will increase under the bill and ratepayer assistance options are limited. Look for new amendments, and perhaps a total re-write of the bill.
  • Independent contractors (HB2498) - HB 2498 would add a new test to Oregon's independent contractors: "Do you provide a service different from the business you are working for?" If the answer is "no," HB 2498 would reclassify you as an employee of the business. Implications are broad-doctors, hairstylists, insurance agents, realtors, and many others will be impacted if HB 2498 passes.
  • Corporate Tax Increases - Watch for a new Commercial Activities Tax (CAT) as the basis for adding new revenue to the state's K-12 system. There is an outside chance the committee may support a Business Activity Tax (which allows deductions for capital expenditures), but early indications are that leadership is favoring the CAT. It would be a straight 0.48% tax against a company's topline sales. This would be in addition to Oregon's corporate income tax.

Upcoming Key Issues:

  • Employment Contracts (HB 2489) - would substantially shift the relationship between employers and employees in Oregon. The bill eliminates an employer's ability to enforce agreements if they aren't written and disallows employment contracts of longer than two years. A preliminary hearing is scheduled this week in House Business and Labor.
  • SAIF - is being targeted for a raid of its workers' compensation claims reserves to buy down PERS rates for K-12.
  • PERS - No long term solutions are on the table. Short term ideas: either suspend the $748 million personal 'kicker' and divert it to paying down PERS rates for K-12 schools or face the prospect of taking a similar amount out of SAIF's reserves.

03-05-2019

Activity on Major Issues:

  • Cap & Trade hearings provide a dose of reality. Hearings in the past weeks in Newport, Baker City, The Dalles, and Bend provided lawmakers with the stark reality that not all Oregonians are clamoring to pay more for their gasoline, natural gas or electricity.
  • Medicaid taxes passed that HB 2010 will raise over $291 million per biennium from local businesses. It was the first major business cost increase from the 2019 season.
  • Rent control passed. The statewide rent control bill, SB 608 is the first statewide rent control bill in the nation and limits annual rent increases to 7% plus CPI on buildings over 15 years old.

 

Upcoming Key Issues:

  • Independent contractors - HB 2498 would add a new test to Oregon's independent contractors: "Do you provide a service different from the business you are working for?" If the answer is "no," HB 2498 would reclassify you as an employee of the business. Implications are broad-doctors, hairstylists, insurance agents, realtors, and many others will be impacted if HB 2498 passes.
  • SB 379 (Workplace Marijuana Accommodation) - Senate Bill 379 would make it an unlawful employment action to condition employment based on refraining from the off-duty use of cannabis or any legal substance. Exception for jobs where the work cannot be preformed while impaired, there is currently no easy test to determine if someone is impaired while at the workplace.