In a short legislative session dominated by budget concerns and Governor Kitzhaber's ambitious reform efforts in health care, education and early learning, jobs bills have taken a back seat. But that doesn't mean they won't make it to the finish line.
There are major bills to coordinate the state's economic development activity, create more enterprise zones and reduce temporarily Oregon's capital gains tax rate. And there is legislation to clarify how and when to tax data centers such as Facebook's that were prize catches by previous economic development recruitment.
Here is a quick overview of some of the significant jobs-related legislation in Salem:
House Bill 4040: Drafted by two influential legislators — Reps. Tobias Read, D-Beaverton, and Cliff Bentz, R-Ontario, along with State Treasurer Ted Wheeler, the Oregon Investment Act seeks to align state economic development programs and incentives to make them more inviting to private sector companies. The measure has passed out of the House Transportation Committee, so remains alive.
Read, Bentz and Wheeler co-authored an op-ed in The Oregonian explaining their intentions:
"Oregon spends significant Oregon Lottery profits and other funds today to enhance business development. Yet those tools are scattered across multiple agencies and have little strategic connection, and sometimes have little accountability to measure results.