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.