Keeping an Eye on the Oregon Legislature

First, I want to say thank you to those who helped defeat Measure 97 by using their voice and casting a vote. However, the fight is not over. There has been a lot of speculation about what to expect from the Oregon Legislature on the heels of Measure 97’s defeat that will directly affect our local businesses, and I feel a role of the Chamber is to bring awareness of potential issues that may affect our local businesses in the upcoming session:

Tax reform. Senator Mark Hass (Beaverton) has been vocal about his support for a 0.4% Commercial Activities Tax in exchange for eliminating corporate income taxes and lowering personal income taxes. It seems likely that 2017 will be the year that this proposal gains traction.

Property taxes. Senator Hass has also proposed eliminating the 3% annual growth cap on assessed value in exchange for moving to market-value based assessments coupled with a significant homestead exemption. This translates into an increase in business property taxes and would likely be part of a comprehensive tax overhaul proposal in the future.

Corporate Tax Disclosure. For the past several years, the legislature has toyed with the idea of passing legislation requiring C corporations to disclose business and tax information to the Secretary of State to be posted on a public website.  It would not be surprising to see a full-throttle effort to pass this type of legislation next year.

Creative tax increases.  For the past several years, the legislature has utilized a loophole that allows it to both extend existing tax credits (revenue deduction) and raise taxes (revenue increase) in the same legislation, thus allowing it to avoid the 3/5 supermajority requirement for raising taxes. This continues to inflict a significant emerging threat to the business community, and one we will be watching closely.

Supermajority no longer required. The Oregon Supreme Court handed legislative tax-raisers a victory in the past year by ruling that it no longer requires a 3/5 supermajority vote of the legislature to raise revenue through the elimination of tax credits or deductions. For years, certain legislators have eagerly awaited the prospect of scaling back or eliminating tax deductions such as the mortgage interest deduction. Next year will be the first session where this will be possible with a simple majority vote – a huge implication for Oregon businesses.

The Tillamook Area Chamber of Commerce does not have a position on these items but we encourage you to take a look at how they may affect your business and let us know if you have a concern. We will do our best to keep you updated and informed as the legislative session approaches.

Thankful for opportunities to serve our community


I hope everyone was able to enjoy their Thanksgiving holiday last week, and that somewhere amongst the festivities and food you found a moment to give thanks for the things in your life that help make it special. I know I did. I found myself thinking of not only my home life, but also my work life, and want to share how incredibly thankful I am for our community and the many partnerships that have blossomed for the Chamber.

It was humbling to see how many of our local restaurants and cafes stepped up to the plate to offer Thanksgiving dinners for those in need. Whether a meal by donation at the Schooner Restaurant and Lounge, or a free meal at the Dutch Mill Diner, or to-go turkey care packages from Muddy Waters, everywhere you look we are making an effort to take care of each other. Thank you to those who went the extra mile and opened their businesses and churches so that no one had to be alone on Thanksgiving.

The Chamber mission is to enhance tourism, business, and economic viability in the greater Tillamook area. We strive to be a resource and an advocate for our members, and we find our success relies on partnerships and relationships. The same immeasurable sense of community that fills bellies during the holidays keeps us running all year long – supporting and challenging us to fulfill our mission in new and greater ways.

Reflecting on all of this, I found myself thankful for the Chamber’s recent partnership with the Manzanita Visitor’s Center and the Manzanita business community during the “Cash Mob” event earlier this month. They welcomed us with open arms and were appreciative of the energy and ideas we brought, and our partnership efforts really paid off. Customers turned out in droves; many Manzanita businesses had a huge day! I look forward to future opportunities in all of our coastal communities.

Small Business Saturday, this past weekend, is another testament to the power of partnership. Our team worked closely with the SBDC office planning the day, and together we built some great relationships with small businesses throughout the county, and drew many shoppers to multiple communities. We facilitated a series of activities in the downtown area of Tillamook that were a collaboration with many small business owners. It was so exciting to see shoppers shrugging off the weather to explore what stores have to offer, and early feedback seems to be that this was a record breaking Small Business Saturday for several of the businesses. The Tillamook Revitalization Association was also a partner in this event (donating funding to help with the advertising), as was Art Accelerated, a burgeoning non-profit who put together the Pop-up Art show many were able to enjoy.

Not all of our partnerships are as visible. We were recently invited to participate in the Tillamook Urban Renewal Agency’s effort to revamp their application process. TURA is housed in Tillamook City Hall, and is essentially tasked with investing in the revitalization of the district. They offer funding opportunities for certain types of projects within their district, and have included the Chamber in their process to weigh in on how to make their programs more approachable for potential applicants. We are excited to be invited to the table, and are optimistic in where the conversations are heading.

We also have a lot to look forward to. By the end of the year, the Chamber will be in our new location downtown. It’s been a great partnership with the Tillamook County Creamery Association to share their space and their visitors, and we know that our relocation is not the end of our relationship. They have reserved space for visitor information within the new facility, and made a generous financial contribution that was essential in securing the building that is currently Bells Office Supply. The owners of BOS, Scott and Mary were thrilled to sell their building and evolve their business, and the Chamber is equally thrilled to be returning to downtown Tillamook after a 30+ year absence.

Thank you Tillamook for the opportunity to serve you.




Chamber Chatter: Vote No on Measure 97

Last week your voter’s pamphlet was delivered to your home. Hopefully you had a chance to flop through it and educate yourself on some of the important issues facing both our country and our state.

One that is getting a lot of attention lately is Measure 97 – the corporate sales tax. Chambers all across the state are urging voters to vote No on this measure, and I’d like to share with you a few of the reasons why.

First of all, advertisements and letters of support for Measure 97 claim that Oregon will be gaining roughly $5 million for schools, seniors, roads, bridges, public safety and healthcare. However, there is absolutely no language written into this measure that allocates the money to these services. In fact, Katherine Driessen, a spokesperson for the group sponsoring Measure 97, was quoted as saying “If the Constitution requires some diversion away from the will of the voters—directing the money to schools, healthcare, and senior services—that’s for the courts to decide.” When push comes to shove, there is nothing stopping the State of Oregon from using this new revenue for whatever it wants.

Propaganda in favor of Measure 97 claims that Oregon already has the lowest corporate taxes in the entire country. This is a lie. Top statutory corporate tax rates in the country range from 4% – 12%. Oregon ranks 7.6%– already on the high end.

Some are also spinning this proposed hidden sales tax into a workforce issue, claiming that our youth need more and better education (which this measure will allegedly fund but remember, that’s not written anywhere) in order to fill jobs when they are older. While it’s true that we do hear from small business owners around the state that one of their largest concern is a lack of workforce, but it is not because the current workforce didn’t receive enough class hours in grade school. Implying that we aren’t able to fill jobs because our children are uneducated is quite absurd. These are two separate issues and need to be addressed as such.

In fact, the Legislative Revenue Office, a non-partisan State office comprised of economists, reported that Measure 97 would inevitable result in a decrease in private-sector jobs. They also reported that the most significantly-impacted population will be low-income families. Now I ask you, how will job loss help our state’s workforce issue?

But possibly the part that worries me the most is when our leaders at the state level admit that Measure 97 has its problems and needs some “fine tuning.” Why would we pass a measure that is admittedly problematic? And based on the recent sessions, do we trust the current legislation to have the political will to fairly fine tune it after it’s passed? We are fortunate to have a few great elected officials, but as a whole Salem is not operating on behalf of its constituents.

In short, voting yes on Measure 97 is the equivalent of setting yourself on fire because you’re cold. It’s extreme. It’s harsh. And it will get the job done, but at what cost?

The Chamber Board and myself value your input and insight. Feel free to contact us anytime at