Thursday, February 24th, 2011
Today, Governor Kitzhaber and Business Oregon unveiled new web-based resources to help Oregon business owners grow their companies. These resources are available via the Business Oregon website.
- The Oregon Advantage: Web portal communicating critical information about Oregon’s competitive business environment, linked to a searchable database of available certified industrial properties, and an intake form where site selectors can directly communicate with Oregon’s national recruitment manager.
- More Business Support: A list of organizations at the local, regional, state, and federal level that offer economic development resources to Oregon companies.
- Grow Your Business: This section includes additional updated content that communicates the services and tools available from Business Oregon to help existing Oregon companies grow their business.
Wednesday, February 23rd, 2011
Over 2,000 people joined OBA at the Presidents’ Day Stand for Children Rally on the Capitol steps. Intel’s Morgan Anderson, who chairs OBA’s Education Committee, spoke to the crowd about the current lack of resources for students. She emphasized the need to look for efficiencies and opportunities for innovation within the education system, and the importance of enacting real education reform.
In her remarks, Morgan said that Oregon is filled with business who are ready to roll up their sleeves and, with partners like Stand for Children and OBA, are working to provide Oregon companies with a top-tier education system that ensures the very best candidates in the world are educated at an Oregon school.
Tuesday, February 22nd, 2011
OBA President Ryan Deckert attended President Obama’s speech at Intel Friday morning, where Obama spoke about investing in research and technology, job creation, and education. When interviewed by Jeff Mapes with The Oregonian, Deckert said that he hopes the publicity from the President’s visit will help spur other companies to consider locating to Oregon. Click here for the full article.
Deckert also weighed in Monday on the proposed “kicker” bill, sponsored by Senators Frank Morse and Ginny Burdick, which would send half of the kicker refunds into a rainy day fund. To read more about the bill and the reaction from the business community, click here.
Ore. lawmakers take first look at changing kicker
Support grows for bill to appoint Oregon’s school superintendent
Thursday, February 17th, 2011
OBA would like to congratulate its member companies who were selected by the Portland Business Journal for its 40 Under Forty awards. Congrats to the following individuals:
- Elleanor Chin, Davis Wright Tremaine LLP
- Kevin B. Dull, Kaiser Permanente
- Sean Edwards, Bank of the West
- Nick Ehlen, Melvin Mark Brokerage Company
- Christopher Garrett, Perkins Coie LLP
- JoDee Keegan, Dunn Carney
- Soo-Kyung Lee, OHSU
- Lisa MacCallum, Nike
- Emily Powell, Powells Books
- Adam Rose, Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt
- Jared Short, Regence BlueCross BlueShield of Oregon
- Erik Teyema, McKinstry
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
OBA sponsored a breakfast meeting with Oregon State Treasurer Ted Wheeler on February 15th. The event, hosted by ODS Companies, brought together a group of OBA business leaders for a frank conversation about the state of the economy and Governor Kitzhaber’s economic development efforts. OBA thanks Treasurer Wheeler for taking the time to meet with OBA and its members.
Wednesday, February 16th, 2011
OBA has partnered with Stand for Children, Chalkboard Project, and the Superintendents on a bold initiative that marries educational investments with results in our classrooms. OBA and its education partners will rally for this package on Presidents’ Day. Details below:
Stand for Children’s Rally for Oregon’s Future
Monday, February 21, 2011
12pm – 1pm
On the Capitol steps, Salem
Rain or shine
For more information and to RSVP, please click here.
We hope to see you there!
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
OBA Agenda Invests in Oregon’s Economy
Efforts to create jobs and grow Oregon’s economy are front and center this Legislative Session. From attracting sustainable businesses to investing in transportation infrastructure, it is critical that the state take steps to maintain a competitive business environment and increase per capita income to stabilize state revenues that support core services.
The following investments will help create a healthy business environment throughout the state:
Business Energy Tax Credit
The BETC has been a successful economic development tool and also promotes energy efficiency. OBA believes it is important to continue to support the growth of this industry cluster to leverage Oregon’s brand by extending key components of the BETC.
Increased energy efficiency efforts will help put Oregonians back to work through retrofitting residential, commercial and institutional structures, as well as helping the state meet its renewable portfolio standard, lower greenhouse gas emissions and reduce the need for additional generation facilities. OBA will support policies that maintain the public purpose charge and expand cost-effective energy efficiency.
Oregon’s investment in the innovation and financing programs of Oregon Inc., ETIC and Business Oregon have leveraged considerable private funds and economic opportunity for Oregon businesses. Significant investment in these programs now will create jobs, and position Oregon’s economy for growth as we continue to move out of the recession. Additionally, incentives like the film production tax credit will encourage continued investment in key industry areas.
Columbia River Crossing
Congestion on the Columbia River Crossing (CRC), one of the largest public works projects in the Pacific Northwest, threatens the competitiveness of Oregon’s trade dependent economy. OBA supports state appropriations to advance the Columbia River Crossing project, as well as the creation of a Bi-State Bridge Authority to lead CRC development forward and become the authority ultimately responsible for bridge construction and operation.
Though funding sources this session are limited, the passage of ConnectOregon 4 legislation, even with a smaller funding pot, would keep ConnectOregon program continuity and allow for additional multi-modal investments in the system.
Initiative Reform Rounds-Out OBA Agenda
Good government practices are the foundation for good public policy. Oregon Business Association believes that good government is dependent not only upon public officials who are dedicated to the public interest, but also on processes that are equitable, transparent and accountable. The current initiative system is flawed, resulting in potentially harmful public policy and costing the state significant revenues. OBA supports enhancing the initiative process for the purpose of improving the quality of measures, and providing voters with greater disclosure of the long-term financial impact of measures.
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Access, Quality and Cost-Control
The rising cost of health care and health insurance is an unsustainable burden on Oregon businesses and families. New federal legislation will require all citizens to have health insurance benefits or face penalties starting in 2014, it is essential that Oregon find a way to reduce costs while maintaining access and quality.
Oregon Health Insurance Exchange
Oregon Business Association believes that the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange should provide transparency for the public and have access, quality and cost-control as priorities.
- The exchange should be dual-market to allow individuals and small groups to purchase plans inside the exchange and outside the exchange. This option increases competition and innovation, and makes the exchange prove its value.
- The exchange should be open to employers of all sizes following the federal timeline, to offer the greatest amount of choice (with the understanding that tax credits will not be available to employers inside the exchange who do not meet the criteria). The exchange should not include the Medicaid population, though it may be beneficial to have parallel regulations for the exchange and Medicaid.
- The exchange should be a public corporation, not a state agency or private contract, with a skilled and qualified governing board that runs lean and is as free from political influence as possible.
- There should be only one exchange that offers statewide and regional options.
- The exchange will benefit from implementation on the federal timeline, simplifying the process for multi-state carriers.
- The exchange should offer a manageable number of benefit designs in addition to the two national plans required by the federal government in order to offer choice to consumers while maintaining a simple shopping environment. OBA recommends between two and four additional plan options.
- Any carrier who meets reasonable standards and criteria set by the governing board, including access and quality, should be allowed to offer plans within the exchange.
- The exchange should be funded by an annual fee on consumers using the exchange, set by the governing board and dedicated solely to covering the costs of administering the exchange.
Employ cost-containment strategies such as administrative simplification and medical liability reform.
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Marrying Resources with Results
Ensuring a world-class education system for all Oregonians is critical to the state’s ability to compete in the global economy and maintain a high quality of life for all Oregonians. There is a need for a coordinated systematic approach to delivering a highly qualified workforce for Oregon businesses. In addition, investments are needed at every stage of the education continuum, from Pre-K to higher education.
K-12 Funding and Reform
OBA has worked jointly with the Superintendents, Stand for Children and Chalkboard Project on a bold agenda that identifies high leverage opportunities to create an educational system that prepares Oregon’s students for their next level of education and training to compete in a global economy.
Improve Statewide Governance & Maximize Teacher Quality
- Make the state superintendent an appointed position, confirmed by the Senate.
- Continue the current investment in quality core professional development and mentorship for teachers and administrators.
- Implement a rigorous statewide performance evaluation system for every educator, allowing local districts to develop systems with multiple performance measures, including student growth as a factor. The evaluation must be proficiency-based and aligned with adopted state teaching standards.
- Explore and develop new career pathways and new compensation models by investing in research-based initiatives like the CLASS Project by creating the School District Collaboration Grant Program.
Reform Education Service Districts
OBA supports efforts to increase efficiency of school administration by consolidating back-office services and reforming ESDs.
Invest in Early Childhood Education
OBA supports maintaining funding for Head Start and Early Head Start at 09-11 budget levels.
Restructure Higher Education
Oregon’s economy depends on a well-educated workforce. OBA has worked with the state’s three other major business associations—Associated Oregon Industries, the Oregon Business Council and the Portland Business Alliance—to develop a common message about improving Oregon’s university system.
- The Joint Task Force supports the recommendations of the Chancellor and the OUS Board to discontinue the system’s status as a state agency to improve flexibility to meet statewide education goals as efficiently as possible.
- OUS needs a financing mechanism that provides adequate, predictable and ongoing support for the institutions. Any governance change must be made within the context of the state’s comprehensive and long-term funding solution for all of education. We urge the state to maintain appropriate funding for the entire post-secondary system.
- A centralized coordinating board is imperative to ensure that programs are delivered in a manner that ensures maximum benefit to all Oregonians and quality standards are achieved. The overall system must be designed and managed to achieve the best results for all Oregonians.
- For universities positioned to have them, the question of local boards should be answered, including how and when they will be formed and what authorities they should have. Additional university-level local governance may strengthen the ability of some institutions to serve Oregon students; therefore, we believe this idea should be explored.
Tuesday, February 15th, 2011
Making Oregon an even better place to live and do business is a goal we all share. From our K-12 and higher education systems, to state courts and prisons, to services for the poor and elderly, citizens and businesses in Oregon depend on state government for many important services.
Everyone acknowledges the difficult fiscal realities our state faces, both short- and long-term. Our first priority is to redesign the delivery of state services to deal with the funding deficits we face with current and future budgets. With a per capital income that has steadily declined for a decade and state government costs that are projected to continually increase beyond our revenues, the only solution that will put Oregon on stable ground is to redesign what services the state offers and how it offers them.
Service Delivery Redesign
The legislative concepts described below are aimed at addressing both short- and long-term budget challenges, while at the same time accomplishing our primary goal of ensuring delivery of important, quality services to our citizens. At the top of the list of essential services are K-12 and Higher Education. Look for our education agenda in forthcoming issues of the Balanced Voice.
The cost of Oregon’s Corrections system is one of the most rapidly growing areas of state government. Mandatory minimum sentences have created a system that cannot utilize proven alternative incarceration programs that would reduce costs to the state while keeping the public safe and reducing recidivism.
Public employees do essential work in our state and we deeply appreciate their work. OBA will seek to be a constructive partner in working with the Governor, the Legislature and the public employee unions to address public employee costs.
Oregon’s reliance on income taxes results in an unstable revenue source for essential state services. OBA supports a package for revenue stabilization that includes amending the kicker law and making key investments that will create a revenue environment that encourages economic growth.
Redesigning state services is a significant task, and accomplishing it will require working closely with elected officials from both parties, our dedicated public employees, advocates, and the broader business community. We look forward to working in partnership with you.