The two things guaranteed to be discussed during the 2019 Oregon legislative session will cap-and-trade and the state budget — at least according to the policy experts who met with East Multnomah County business leaders and elected officials Thursday afternoon, Aug. 9.
J.L. Wilson and Ginny Lang were the speakers for the East Metro Economic Alliance (EMEA) monthly membership meeting at Fairview City Hall, 1300 N.E. Village St. They discussed the upcoming session and political activity heating up across Oregon.
“We will take a dim view of anything that makes it difficult for businesses,” Wilson said.
Wilson has 16-years history in public affairs and lobbying. He has been a full-time lobbyist representing business interests since 2000. Lang serves as the interim president and CEO of Oregon Business & Industry.
Wilson said Cleaner Air Oregon rules and proposed cap-and-trade policies will make it difficult for manufacturers in the state. While protecting the environment is important, he said the key is to find a price for carbon emissions that doesn’t cause bad outcomes, like production leaving for more friendly states.
“I would be more inclined to make Oregon receptive and open to business,” he said.
Another topic expected to be debated in 2019 by Oregon politicians is a potential 60-hour cap on the work week for manufacturing businesses.
It’s been a hard-fought issue that Wilson said has already led to the loss of manufacturers due to a lack of employees.
Pay equity and paid family leave will also most likely be kicked around, as will the need for housing.
Both experts agree taxing options, the state budget and revenue will be on the center stage during the legislative session — though they aren’t sure what form it will all take.
“We are looking for ideas that can work for everyone,” Lang said. “Even though our economy is booming, a recession isn’t that far away.”
Lang’s group have been meeting with businesses and chambers across the state to come up with a plan on how to best deal with the budget. They want to be able to bring alternatives to options like a retail tax, which voters have time and again voted against.
EMEA is a partnership of industry, government and education to shape the future of East Multnomah County. The group builds consensus and promotes action on issues vital to the economic development of the region. Learn more at https://eastmetro.org.