2016 Legislation Session in Review

February 18, 2016  |   Posted by :   |   Homepage Feature   |   0 Comment»

Tax Fairness Oregon’s notable wins in the short session included these:

  • We were given credit for saving the state $150 million over the next 8 years by helping kill a tax credit to farm, forest, fishery and food processing owners for paying our new minimum wages to their employees! (It would have been included in SB 1507). We’re expecting the idea to be back in 2017—will you help us fight it?
  • Sent to the grave a bill creating a capital gains tax break, helped kill another bill to give farmers refundable tax credits for the expenses of maintaining and providing utilities for farm worker housing, and stopped an effort to get the Lottery to start running raffles for non-profits. (HB 4043, SB 1593 and HB 4008)
  • Won significant improvements to our “Worst Bill of the Year,” the Industrial Lands bill. The changes included adding a job creation requirement, aiming it at rural Oregon, shortening the period before its sunset, and requiring reporting on Oregon’s transparency website.

The 2016 session was blazingly fast-paced! And there was lots of work for us to do! Two of us were in the building virtually every day.

We didn’t focus on climate change, the minimum wage, or affordable housing except on a couple of bills’ technical details, as there are lots of thoughtful folks working on those issues. Meanwhile, we were often the only ones testifying and lobbying on our focus bills. We lobbied and testified on a total of 22 bills, with a focus on SB 1507, SB 1565, HB 4146, HB 4043, and HB 4084. You can read as much of our testimony as you like here. Or read a synopsis here.

In Short, what did we accomplish?

  • Three bills we opposed died in their policy committees! Dead and gone, at least for this year.
  • Five bills we insisted needed amendments got some or all of the changes we recommended, passing as bills we helped significantly improved! 

We’re still talking with the Governor’s office, recommending she veto a couple of bills.

It was a vigorous session, our best yet, in part because of the number of smart volunteers we had working in Salem, each focusing on specific issues; the strong phone calls and email members sent on bills we identified; and because we could afford one quarter-time employee who worked researching and writing testimony and setting up appointments for us with key legislators.

We’re working now at what’s up for next year, and will enthusiastically embrace any new volunteers who come forward. Please speak up if you want to get more involved in the work of Tax Fairness Oregon. Call Betsy at 971 645-6066 or write Jody @ TaxFairnessOregon.org.

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