Victories From the 77th Legislative Assembly

Date: May 12, 2014

Small Business Tax Savings Highlights Wins

The 77th assembly of the Oregon Legislature adjourned its 2013/2014 session on March 7, 2014, with NFIB securing some big victories for small business.

Won $1 Billion in Small Business Tax Saving
NFIB was instrumental in securing a small-business tax classification with a starting rate of 7 percent, saving qualified small businesses an estimated $1.09 billion in taxes over the next decade.  Additionally this component of a “grand bargain” reduced PERS liability by more than $2 billion. In 2014, NFIB successfully defeated attempts to take back the 7-percent rate. 

Won LLC Protections in Workers’ Compensation Claims
NFIB lobbied extensively for a fix to the Oregon appellate court’s “Cortez case ruling” that denied workers’ compensation exclusive remedy protection to Limited Liability Corporations (LLCs), thus making owners and members of LLC’s personally liable for job related injuries.  We succeeded in passing Senate Bill 678 so Oregon LLC’s now have the same workers’ comp. protection as all other employers.

Won Establishment of Office of Small Business in the Secretary of State’s Office
NFIB successfully lobbied for passage of House Bill 3459, creating an Office of Small Business Assistance within the Secretary of State’s office to support and assist small businesses that have challenges dealing with government agencies and bureaucracy.

Won Better Government Accounting on Regulations
NFIB won passage of House Bill 2643 to study small business fees.  The measure created a computerized annual reporting system for all state agencies to report all fees collected from small businesses.  This is the first step in a program that will eventually allow Oregon to analyze and evaluate the true agency-fee burden on small businesses and begin to eliminate those that are redundant, unnecessary, outdated and over-burdensome.  

Victories By Defeat

Stopped Paid Sick Leave
NFIB lead the charge that resulted in the failure of House Bill 3390, which would have forced all small businesses with six or more employees to provide up to seven days paid sick leave annually.

Killed Employer Liability for Cutting Employee Hours
Senate Bill 1543 would have created an “unlawful employment practice” if an employee’s hours were reduced to avoid the Affordable Care Act.  For an alleged violation the “employer would have the burden” to prove the reduced hours were for other business reasons than avoiding compliance to ACA.  In addition to Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) penalties, the employer could also be subject to civil action.  NFIB successfully stopped SB 1543 in committee.

Defeated So-Called “Wage Theft” Proposal
NFIB battled Senate Bill 573, an anti-employer bill that would allowed a priority lien on the employer’s real and personal property within the state of Oregon.  An employee could accomplish this by paying a fee and filing a form for an alleged wage claim.  This would have been allowed without any due process or prior wage claim filed with BOLI. 

Blocked Attempt to Create State Retirement Fund for Private Employees
A huge priority of House Speaker Tina Kotek and labor unions, which ran an extensive publicity campaign, ws House Bill 3436, which would have created a state-run retirement fund for the private sector. This would have ultimately created a PERS for the private sector with all administrative costs and burdens to be borne by small businesses. NFIB helped negotiate a certain victory for labor down to a task force to study the issue.

Beat Back Unworkable Carbon Standards
NFIB was part of the Oregonians for Sound Fuel Policy coalition that defeated Senate Bill 1570 , which would have repealed the 2015 sunset of the Low Carbon Fuel Standards. These standards are considered impossible to meet, could potentially create a fuel scarcity and increase fuel prices as much as $1.80 per gallon per scientific studies.

Successfully Fought the Patent Trolls
NFIB supported the passage of Senate Bill 1540 which would prevent “patent trolling” upon unsuspecting small businesses. This bill was aimed at unscrupulous companies that preyed upon small businesses by threatening the filing of lawsuits against them for alleged patent violations regarding equipment or software that they used. Often small businesses would “pay up” rather than take on the risk of even a frivolous lawsuit.  Passage of this bill will prevent this type of “trolling” in Oregon.

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