Checking under the hood of the Ford Fusion Hybrid during a series of visits to the state from electric car makers.

Greetings,

Tomorrow is the Joint Town Hall on the Revenue/Budget Crisis.  The revenue forecast the legislature received today predicts a $4.2 billion shortfall.  To put that number in perspective we would need $16.7 billion to fund all programs at the current level.  The Legislative Revenue and Fiscal Officers Paul Warner and Ken Rocco will give presentations on what the latest Revenue Forecast means for the budget and services.  Please join Senators Morrisette, Prozanski, and Walker; Representatives Beyer, Holvey, Nathanson, and myself, get your questions answered and voice your concerns. 

The Republicans recently released a budget plan that looks too good to be true; it is. See the Oregonian Editorial from Wednesday May 13th.  

Phil

Important Dates

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings:

May 16th at 10am Joint Town Hall with Lane County Legislators to discuss the latest Revenue Forecast released the day before. City Council Chambers, Eugene City Hall, 777 Pearl St.#105, Eugene.

May 23rd at 11:30am Coburg City Hall, 91069 N Willamette, Coburg, OR.

Legislative Report

As the old saying goes, don't put all your eggs in one basket. We've basically been doing this for a century when it comes to our energy supply, depending primarily on fossil fuels. Fossil fuels are expensive, send our money out of state and are slowly poisoning our air. Moving to a sustainable locally produced energy system will reduce greenhouse gases and reduce our cost of energy after the transition.  How does government promote that transition?  In Oregon, the Business Energy Tax Credit (BETC) has evolved into one of these tools.   

During the energy crisis of the 1970's, BETC was created to help businesses conserve energy. In 2007 the legislature added the manufacture of renewable energy devices to the list of qualifying projects. Then in 2008, we approved BETC for use as an economic development tool. These modifications helped jumpstart the renewable energy industry in Oregon and continue to bring green jobs to our state.  SolarWorld, Peak Sun Silicon, Solaicx and PV Powered are a few solar device companies now developing and expanding their manufacturing facilities in Oregon after receiving the tax credits.

The Oregon House passed HB 2472 with bipartisan support (40 in support and 19 against).  HB2472 will fine tune and upgrade the BETC to ensure Oregonians are getting the greatest benefit and that tax dollars are used most effectively. Back in 2008 the legislature permitted the Department of Energy (DOE) to create standards to evaluate BETC applications.  At that time these standards only applied to renewable energy device manufacturers (for example: makers of solar panels).  House Bill 2472 requires renewable energy producers (wind, solar, geothermal, wave, etc.) be evaluated by those same standards.  Under the bill, both renewable energy device manufacturers and renewable energy producers must show they provide a minimum level of increased employment and have the potential for long-term success before they are approved to receive the credit.

Early this session I learned that certain developers were dividing up large projects into several smaller projects and applying for separate tax credits for each project avoiding caps placed on the subsidy.  Those caps were put in place to ensure that community projects received consideration and support and to avoid overspending. I was appalled that these investors were working to skirt the laws put in place to benefit Oregonians.  I made sure the bill eliminated these claims that could cost Oregon tax payers many millions of dollars. 
 
Finally, we added the manufacture of electric cars and installation of recharging stations to attract this emerging industry to locate in the state. We already have two local electric car companies (BugE and Arcimoto) in our area with the possibility of more to come.  Battery technology, the key to conveniently usable electric cars, is under development in Bend.  Oregon has an excellent opportunity to participate in the coming renewable energy boom.  We have innovative technology, forest biomass and well educated and motivated workers.  For us, the transition to sustainable energy is spelled J-O-B-S! Stay tuned!

Bills of Interest

I wanted to provide you with an easy way to find out what bills are coming in front of my committees and for vote on the House Floor.  Below are links to these agenda's

Revenue

Environment & Water

House Floor (Third Reading Notice)

You can track any measure by number here.