Weekly Review
                    Jobs and the Economy                

We all have the same concerns when it comes to jobs and the economy. Everyone wants to see unemployment decrease and the economy increase. I wanted to share some encouraging legislation that helps maintain and grow jobs in Oregon.

                  

In 2013, the legislature passed HB 2735, which created a tax exemption for the food processing industry. This allowed for newly acquired machinery and equipment used by fruit, vegetables, nuts, legumes, and seafood processing plants to be exempt from local property taxes for five years, which encourages the food processing plants to replace aging equipment with more energy efficient and modernized equipment. Essentially, this incentivizes companies to invest and grow their operations here in Oregon.

 

For example, Stahlbush Island Farms near Corvallis took advantage of the tax exemption. They jumped on the opportunity right away since it easily justified their investing in new equipment since their property taxes would be reduced. They feel the expansion benefits everyone, from the workers, to the local economy, and ultimately the state economy.

 

Recently, HB 3125 received a public hearing in the House Committee on Revenue. This bill expands the tax exemption to include dairy, egg, bakery and grain processors. This will help develop and grow food processing jobs in Oregon and help meet food processors voluntary carbon reduction goals by upgrading to energy efficient equipment.

 

Before the implementation of this tax exemption, there was a drastic decline in employment figures and plant closures within this industry. To be exact, 15.3% decline in average annual employment and an 11% decline in total payroll, which results to $61.4 million.

 

Once the tax exemption became available Oregon has experienced an 11.8% increase in annual employment and a 25% increase in payroll, resulting in $166 million! Talk about good for the economy and job growth!

 

I'm grateful Rep. John Davis from Wilsonville introduced this legislation and I hope the committee continues to move forward with this bill so that Oregon can better compete with neighboring states to increase good processing jobs.

 

        Children's Mental Health Awareness    
On Thursday of this week, Youth Move Oregon sponsored Children's Mental Health Awareness Day. I had the opportunity to speak with the advocates of this group and was pleased with the great turnout. What a beautiful day for such a special event!

Sen. Sara Gelser, Rep. Dan Rayfield, and I sent a letter to the Co-Chairs of the Joint Ways and Means Committee requesting more funding for Trillium's Farm Home outside of Corvallis on Highway 20. This is a great organization doing amazing things for youth suffering from mental health issues. Their outreach extends throughout the state and they deserve our support. 

Over the years, this issue has become very near and dear to my heart. If you have some time, I encourage you to read the article from the Daily Astorian to learn more about mental health funding, click here.

Until next week,

Andy Olson 
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Contact Info:
900 Court St. NE, H-478
Salem, OR 97301
503-986-1415

 
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