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2019 Legislation to Watch

 If you run or own a business in Oregon, here are some of the revenue or regulatory bills you should be paying attention to:

 

  • Kicker. (HB 2975) HB 2975 included an accounting change that reduces the upcoming kicker by over $100 million by transferring this money into the next biennium. HB 2975 has the effect of adding an additional $100 million of revenue into the 2019-21 budget by taking it out of the $748 million personal income kicker due to taxpayers next year.
  • Corporate Tax Increases. Several business tax scenarios are under consideration, but discussion is heavy around a Commercial Activity Tax, which is a pure gross receipts tax. The debate here is how much the legislature wants to raise. House Democratic leadership wants to raise business taxes by $3.4 billion per biennium. Senate Democratic leadership wants to raise business taxes by $2 billion.
  • Lawsuit Damages. (HB 2014) This bill would repeal Oregon’s legal limit of $500,000 on non-economic damages in personal injury and negligence lawsuit claims. The Bend Chamber, health care groups, and business organizations are opposing this legislation because it is a significant factor in driving up health care costs and general liability costs for employers.
  • Health Care Tax (HB 2269) The State will be empowered to determine minimum expenditures that all employers with 50+ employees must pay toward the cost of healthcare for their employees who work 8 hours or more per week. The assessed bill will then be sent to employers to pay.

 

  • OregonSaves. (SB 164) SB 164 would assess civil penalties to businesses that fail to comply with the Oregon Retirement Savings Program requirements. Amendment to SB 164 under consideration include:
  1. Gives all businesses, regardless of size, two years to get in to compliance;
  2. Caps civil penalties, so businesses are not on the hook for unknown costs; and
  3. Ensures that training and education are the first steps towards compliance.
  • Paid Family Leave HB 3031 This bill applies to employers with 1+ employees, mandates 32 weeks of paid and protected family and medical leave each year. The bill also establishes new payroll tax of up to 1%:
    • 0.5% paid by employers
    • 0.5% paid by employees
    • Creates state run family insurance program
    • Doesn’t allow employers to provide substantially similar plans/ currently existing plans
  • Paid Family Leave Additional Bills HB 3140/ SB 947 These bills expand OFLA eligibility to 1+ employees  and expands family member definition. It mandates 24 weeks of paid and protected leave AND an additional 24 weeks of unpaid family and medical leave each year. It requires 100% of employee wages to be paid 100% by employers while employee is on leave.

 

  • Cap & Trade. (HB 2020) This legislation taxes the top 100 emitters in Oregon to create a fund to offset carbon. The Joint Committee is still working on amendments to HB 2020, which should be available shortly.

 

  • Restrictions on Independent Contractors (HB 2498) Places restrictions including prohibiting contracts that provide similar work that is performed in the company, places limits on remote contractors.

 

 

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