Tim Boyle: Get the basics right - and repeal the corporate kicker

Tim Boyle, the CEO of Columbia Sportswear, calls on the governor and the legislature to fix our state. In particular, he wants 'em to focus on "getting the basics right". If they do that, he'll help lead the way on repealing the corporate kicker:

Columbia Sportswear's success is in part the result of a disciplined focus on the basics of our business. We avoid being tempted by the latest business fad or the constant whispers of consultants who have a new idea to sell us. We would never expect government to be run like a business; it is an entirely different enterprise. But discipline and a focus on getting the basics right should be the mark of any strong organization, public or private.

We all have a common interest in this state for getting the basics right. The business community can go on debating the corporate kicker law, or it can start to relentlessly focus on schools and public safety to ensure that Oregon is a good place to live and work. The political community can chase the latest fads and headlines, or it can responsibly craft and manage budgets to deliver critical needs, and in so doing it can demonstrate that the corporate kicker can be put to better use in the hands of government than in the hands of the private sector.

If both of these happen, then Columbia will gladly join the rest of the business community to reform and eliminate the corporate kicker.


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    Tim Boyle's a well-meaning guy, but what exactly is he talking about? The State -- which is where the corporate kicker comes from; not the county (which is responsible for Wapato), not the city of Portland (which polices downtown), the State - spends virtually all its money on "the basics": education, public safety, health care. (By the way, the City spends the biggest chunk of its money on public safety.) I don't recall ever seeing a budget for the State Department of Fads and Headlines, and Mr. Boyle does not identify a single Fad or Headline expenditure by the State. Mr. Boyle seems to be indulging in a very old "fad": accusing state government of being wasteful and inefficient (that's the implicit point of his piece) without offering any specifics whatsover. Since I really think he is basically a good guy, I gotta say, it's unworthy of him. Come back with a list of specifics, Mr. Boyle!

  • John Napolitano (unverified)

    Government should be run like a business. Specifically, like a non-profit business, focused on providing needed services to the community. And that kind of business does not give money back to the "stockholders" that fund them, when they are very successful in their fundraising effort. They provide more services or save for the future needs of that community.

  • bobtucker (unverified)

    1) Isn't this a regurgitation of a speech he gave about a year ago? 2) How magnanimous of him. He'll help repeal the most imbecilic tax policy but ONLY if EVERYTHING else in state and local government meets his approval. Where is he on the corporate minimum tax and various loopholes and "incentives"? 3) I'm sure no one ever gets robbed in India. That's why so many Americans are on waiting lists to immigrate to Dehli.

  • wharf rat (unverified)

    Hi Folks..

    I can't speak much to the corporate kicker because I don't know a whole lot about it, other than to say that, on the surface, it appears to be poor public policy.

    I do believe that Mr. Boyle is right on target in his observations in the first paragragh. I worked in Portland in the late 70's/early 80's when progressive political and social policy drove a number initiatives. Coming back [to Southern Oregon]in 2004 my impression is that many people and institutions in the state have not followed up on those initiatives.

    Granted that southwest Oregon is not Portland, and from reading this blog on a regular basis it appears that there is more energy in Portland than elswhere in the state. Down here we're closing libraries, cranking out meth undisturbed, laying off teachers and closing school programs, and still whining about losing timber welfare payments. The Medford Mail-Tribune has fallen so low as to advise us that a new state psychiatric hospital and prison will bring thousands of well-paying jobs to our valley. My experience in rural development in the western states tells me that state government sites those facilities in economically distressed areas populated by folks desperate for small improvements in their lives.

    A good example is the faculty and staff RIF at Rogue Community College and Southern Oregon University. I understand this is part of the periodic "shoot the hostage" tactic used to pressure legislatures but who in the hell let it go so far. In this valley there are nine major and thirteen smaller diesel truck shops as well as two dozen trucking companies all requiring training for diesel mechanics. The community college just closed its diesel technology program. I am the lead tech in a diesel fleet shop, where do I send my techs for training? Where is the forum for dissemination of information? Why are we ignoring $40-50,000 jobs and training people to package food at Amy's Kitchen for $20,000 jobs?

    I apologize. I just realized that this is starting to sound like a rant and I don't mean that to happen. I try to reservbe that for the dogs when I get home since they're happy to listen.

    I have to agree with Mr. Boyle. I just don't think that existing leadership has what it takes and I have yet to see any leaders in the wing


  • John Mulvey (unverified)

    Tim and his mom have some history of disingenuousness when it comes to public policy issues, so I think any comments coming from him need to be taken with a large grain of salt.

    Recall, for instance, the episode surrounding their move out of Portland. They could not resist a few parting shots at Multnomah County over their purchase of the (now) County headquarters building at Hawthorne and Grand. The County tried to do the right thing for the community by moving its staff into a vacant eastside building, saving money and helping to bring people with good jobs into a neighborhood that needed a shot in the arm.

    Suddenly, once the deal is done, the Boyles claim that THEY wanted the building and would have stayed in Portland had they gotten it. It was a lie. Had they wanted the building they could have picked up the phone and gotten 100% cooperation from the County.

    Now here they come again, on their "I'm a businessman, so everything I say is inherently credible" soapbox. Perhaps someday the Boyles will ENGAGE in solving public policy issues, but I doubt it. It's so much easier to throw ideologically-driven bombs, isn't it?

    Regarding Mr. Boyles' comment on the corporate kicker, it's got to be clear to any sentient being that the state will never meet Mr. Boyles' standards.

    Here's a relevant quote from JK Galbraith that came to mind in reading this piece: "The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness."


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    The point he makes that should become a Democratic bumper sticker (lapel pin, whatever) is that a good education is critical for local business. (And the kicker and education are both state general fund items.)

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    The good thing about this piece is that he says that the business climate is not all about regulation and taxes. Kudos to him for that. I just wish he hadn't contributed to the "they spend all their money on fads" myth.

  • Wrassle Tarpin (unverified)

    Tim Boyle can suck my ass.

  • Lenny Anderson (unverified)

    Mr Boyle is correct that workforce issues are key for growing businesses in the future. He made his job of attracting talent more difficult by moving his organization out to a hard to get to place in unincorporated Washington county. adidas did just the opposite and is thriving in North Portland on two transit lines, several bike routes and a short walk from MAX. Many of their employees have purchased homes in the area, and only 57% drive alone to work. Location, location, location. Mr. Boyle should know that.

  • Aaron V. (unverified)

    Stop crying, Tim Boyle. Compare your salary to that of the governor, or your executives' salaries to those of state legislatures.

    How much of your employees' training has been because of public education systems or public universities? Aren't you free-riding off the public safety systems when the police will instantly come whenever someone shoplifts from your store down on Broadway?

    <h2>Of course, you'll probably start complaining about how much money state employees make. Of course, we can't "outsource" low-level employees to Red China like you can, Crybaby Tim...</h2>
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