By Rep. Jules Bailey (D-Southeast Portland). Recently, Rep. Bailey co-authored "Swift action in special session can bring jobs, support broadly held Oregon priorities"
Today's special session has been overshadowed by the horrific events in Newtown. No words I write can do justice to the tragedy. It has been a sobering reminder that each day we must cherish what we have, and remind those closest to us how grateful we are for them.
It is also a violent reminder that we have not kept our promise as politicians or the public to keep our children safe.
Today, with many of my colleagues, I am sponsoring legislation to provide funding to schools to modernize their buildings for safety, to ban high capacity magazines, and to ban assault rifles in Oregon.
These actions won't bring back those we've lost, but they are a step towards keeping such a tragedy from happening again.
All of this unfolded while we were here in the Capitol for the special session called by Governor Kitzhaber to pass legislation that would give the Governor the authority to negotiate contracts that would lock in place the single sales factor taxation methodlogy for a period time for a company that is doing a major expansion and investment, such as Nike is proposing.
As I promised in my commentary on the bill that I posted on BlueOregon with Rep. Val Hoyle, I fought to ensure we added strong sideboards to the Governor's concept. I am pleased to report that we passed the bill with amendments that among other things:
- Limit the Governor's authority to sign a contract to one year
- Hold the corporate entity accountable if it breaches the contract by clawing back the full value of the difference between single sales factor and any new apportionment that might be adopted
- Ensure the Governor must consider the duration of jobs created, their wage level, and other factors
- Biennial reporting to the legislature
In the end, this bill has been broadly mis-characterized as a tax giveaway. In reality, it costs the state nothing, and only keeps in place the methodology used to measure the size of a business for taxation. It does not change or lower tax rates, nor make any guarantee of future tax rates. And Oregon is getting badly needed jobs.
Like many of you, I was frustrated by the timing and process called for by the Governor's special session. But combined with the amendments, I think we passed a bill that is the best we could do under the circumstances. And the short sunset on the bill will ensure we will have a full debate about it next session.
During next session, I hope the Governor and the legislature will keep their promise to give the same focus brought to this special session to bills that invest in education, provide health care and critical services, and protect our environment.
I expect you to hold us to that.