Travel Lane County Opens!
A new resource to
boost tourism and show off what our great region has to offer
As promised in last week's e-newsletter this week's Legislative Report
focuses on jobs. Even with the news that Oregon's unemployment rate has
fallen again to 10.7%, many people are still out of work or have stopped
looking for work. I hope that businesses take advantage of the
opportunities these bills create and as always if you have questions on these
programs or any others please don't hesitate to contact my office. We
will do the best we can to get you pointed in the right direction.
Also if you have questions
you want to ask me in person, join me and Senator Floyd Prozanski and
Representatives Paul Holvey and Terry Beyer for a Town Hall Meeting
TOMORROW! Don't miss your opportunity to talk about jobs and the
economy, consumer protection, transportation, taxpayer dollars, public safety
or other topics that matter most to you!
The federal government distributes more
than $400 billion in tax payer dollars to support community programs each
year. They use information from the census to help determine which
communities get those funds. Accurate census data gives us the best
opportunity to bring funding to our community. Census data can help
fund services for people in poverty, establish services for people with
disabilities, determine locations for hospitals and senior centers, and
forecast transportation needs. You should receive your census survey between
March 15th and 17th. Please make sure to "Take 10" to fill it
out. Also check out this interactive map to see how we did in 2000 (it will be updated with
our regions statistics once the survey's are distributed).
Senate Bill 1062 requires "survey" ballots to include
printed in boldface, 36 point type "THIS IS NOT A REAL BALLOT. DO NOT USE
TO VOTE". This change will ensure that voters will not confuse survey
ballots with official election ballots and will maintain the integrity of our
election process. - Passed with broad bi-partisan support
Help Filing: If you make less than $57,000 a year you likely
qualify to use the industry's top tax software for free for your federal tax
return. Visit www.irs.gov to find out more. For other free
resources contact AARP Tax Aide at 888-227-7669 or visit their site here. Lastly you can find a local tax aide location near
you by calling 1-800-SAFENET (723-3638). You may also qualify for free
e-filing of your Oregon tax return: http://www.oregon.gov/DOR/
AG's Scam Alert: "Last year, the Oregon Department of Justice and the
Board of Tax Practitioners teamed up to stop an unlicensed tax preparer that
violated the law 534 times. Attorney General Kroger and the Oregon Board of
Tax Practitioners offer the following tips when choosing an income-tax
• Check here to ensure the preparer is licensed.
• Never give out personal information such as your
Social Security number, bank account or mortgage receipt to a tax preparer
unless you have determined they are licensed.
• Be wary of tax preparers who claim they can obtain
larger than normal refunds than others.
• Avoid preparers who base their fee on a percentage
of your refund."
by the new visitor information center located at the Crossroads Shopping
Center, 3312 Gateway Street Springfield
Join Senator Prozanski and
Representative's Barnhart, Beyer and Holvey for a Town Hall meeting.
9:30 am to 11:30 am
Springfield Council Chambers
225 5th Street
Springfield, OR 97477
Watch Rep. Barnhart's speech on
the "BOOST" Bill
During the Special Session my colleagues
and I passed bills to stimulate job creation and give surviving businesses
the extra support they need. The recession ravaged our economy like a
forest fire. It took months to get the blaze under control, but now
that most agree the fire is smoldering out, it is time to promote
We passed four key bills to help remove funding barriers and increase capital
for Oregon's businesses to give them the support they need now. First,
House Bill 3644 appropriately creates an Oregon Economic Gardening Fund to
raise and leverage private foundation, federal, and other dollars to support
Oregon businesses that have fast growth potential. Next we passed
Senate Bill 1017 to get funding to small businesses faster. The
bill does this by changing how the Oregon Business Development Fund approves
small loans (under $250,000). These loans can be used for land,
buildings, equipment, and even working capital. House Bill 3627
nicknamed the Small Business Investment Act helps ease the financial
obstacles that investing in a new business pose and will encourage the
development of new small businesses throughout our state. The bill
allows Oregon residents to claim an income tax subtraction of up to $500,000
for investing their severance pay into a new or existing Oregon small
business. The tax credit offered in this bill will encourage Oregon's
hesitant entrepreneurs to make the leap from idea to action, strengthening
the core of our economy, encouraging innovation, and more importantly -
putting Oregonians back to work. Lastly we passed the "BOOST"
bill (House Bill 3698) to give small business loans and grants for creating
new jobs and hiring Oregonians.
The Legislature also passed several pieces of legislation to increase
investment in alternative energy technology, creating the high-skill,
high-wage jobs Oregon needs. According to Pew Charitable Trusts
research based on data from 1998 through 2007, jobs related to the clean
energy economy grew 2 ½ times faster than traditional jobs. Oregon has always
been a leader in the renewable field, but now we have even more of an
incentive to promote this type of expansion in our state. House Bill
3633 adds wave energy to the type of energy that counts towards our renewable
portfolio goals and House Bill 3690 gives more strength to a pilot program
which provides incentives for producing solar energy. Passed
unanimously out of the House and the Senate, House Bill 3674 classifies
biomass as an alternative energy technology, helping to create new jobs for
Oregonians while obtaining energy from our forests. Biomass facilities
use waste material generated from logging or thinning activities in forests,
as well as wood waste generated at Oregon sawmills and other wood products plants,
to produce electricity. Lastly we bolstered the Energy Efficiency
and Sustainable Technology Act (EEAST) established by the 2009
legislature. This landmark program helps home and business owners make
energy efficient upgrades to their properties, adding thousands of job
opportunities. EEAST uses no taxpayer money and is financed through a
combination of federal stimulus funds, state bonding and private loans.
The loan is paid back through the energy savings as a part of utility bills.
Oregon businesses will now have more of the soil, sun and water they need to
grow. When a fire burns out in our forests it is easy to think that the
blackened ruin is the future, but in a surprisingly short time signs of new
life appear as fire-stimulated seeds germinate and grow. Soon, the new growth
is developing faster than the old. If we work and plan well, our economy and
job recovery can too. For the unemployed, work on your skills, keep your eyes
open for that new chance and keep your hope.