Staying in Touch
I hope you all had a great time celebrating Independence Day! All three of my girls and their families were in town and we had a great time barbequing, watching fireworks, and enjoying the nice weather. I sure am thankful for times like these.
In addition to family, I've had my plate full with different committees, task forces, and constituent meetings. Below you will find some recent activities and updates. 
As always, thank you for the support! 

Down the Road...
Most of you know I've been assigned to serve on the newly created Joint Committee on Transportation Preservation and Modernization. The committee has been assigned the task of building a comprehensive transportation package to be voted on during the 2017 Legislative Session.
In order to create the best package for ALL of Oregon, the committee has scheduled a series of public meetings and tours throughout Oregon. Currently, we have visited the East Metro area and Eastern Oregon, Ontario and Hermiston. The next committee hearing will be Wednesday July 20, 2016 in Eugene, Oregon. 
Portland: While at the Portland Community College campus near Powell Blvd, the committee heard several concerns relating to the congestion on the east side.  I-205 has so many choke-points that it truly hinders the economy. One of the projects that is in the hopper is the Abernathy Bridge that crosses the Willamette River just before Oregon City. The four-lane north-south bridge is being configured to expand to three lanes each direction. Highway 212, the once sleepy rural highway, near the Fred Meyer Distribution Center has become a major commuter route with two lanes traveling east and west. Fred Meyer and the Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) have teamed up to improve and relieve the congestion.
Ontario: The tour was interesting. The community has been hard at work developing a plan for building an intermodal hub. The hub would include about 200 acres involving a center where both the Union Pacific and Train-X receive produce and other commodities from the connecting five counties, including the Idaho side. This would be more cost effective to transport hay, onions, potatoes, etc. across the counties.
I am exploring the possibility of a similar project on the west side of the Cascades, possibly in the Albany area. This would reduce truck traffic, move freight, and create jobs. I will keep you advised as I learn more throughout the remaining tours.
The Joint Committee on Transportation and Modernization meeting with local folks in Eastern Oregon

Finding a Balance
Within the past year, Oregon has passed both paid sick leave and a higher increased minimum wage. There have been countless debates about paying a living wage, yet supporting our local small businesses.
Recently,  I've read an article showing Oregon businesses moving out of state because they cannot afford to keep running their business here with all the new Oregon regulations. How many more businesses will leave the state, costing more jobs for Oregonians?
Another article I read said the minimum wage increase is not enough...mainly because housing costs are too high.
This situation is not going to "fix" itself overnight. People are struggling to make ends meet and yet so are business owners. So where do we go from here?
I'll tell you where we don't go. I'm sure you've been following the debate surrounding Initiative Petition 28, which places a gross receipts tax on certain businesses in Oregon. Recent studies show if IP 28 passes, the new tax would raise $6 billion per biennium. But here's the catch, IP 28 would cost over 38,000 jobs in the private sector within five years.
Additionally, the Oregonian Editorial Board wrote an informative piece as to how IP 28 is going to impact the consumer in Oregon, indicating the measure is a hidden sales tax to all of Oregon. Click here to see the full article.

Oregon State Legislature, 900 Court Street NE, Salem, OR 97301
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