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Doing Business in Oregon? Let’s See What Kotek Has to Say
Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses

Editor's note: This is the third of a multipart series on Tina Kotek – her past and her future – as well as where her political ambitions might take her.

As Speaker of the House, Tina Kotek carries a lot of power deciding which bills will be heard seriously directing her caucus to vote for, which will receive a courtesy hearing in a quid pro quo move, and which get trampled on the cutting floor. The 2021 Session summarized her philosophy of taxation: With record revenues in the coffers, she led her Democrat allies to raise taxes on the citizens of Oregon.

Kotek has promoted the review of all taxation bills saying that just as tax credits are reviewed periodically, so taxes should also be reviewed for sufficiency. This mindset has driven her agenda in legislative sessions. Her caucus pulled off the second big rip-off costing individual taxpayers $15 million reducing the kicker by passing SB 846 along party lines.

In a reverse strategy, in 2016 session she fostered an increase in tax revenue with the passage of the union’s legislation to raise Oregon's minimum wage, the strongest equal pay law in the nation, touted as the nation's first fair work week law. She claims success for working families, but Oregonlive reported they were not so pleased with the increased taxes withheld.

Several bills affect the operation and bottom line of businesses. One such bill Kotek helped to sponsor and directed her caucus to vote in was the Producer Responsibility Program. SB 582 establishes a program for packaging, printing and writing paper and food serviceware, which requires producers to join a program plan for recycling materials creating a new industry under approval of DEQ.

On Facebook she says, “Businesses that repeatedly violate our air quality and environmental standards put our communities in danger. The DEQ should have the authority to deny permits based on multiple past violations so we can prevent avoidable catastrophes like the 2018 fire at NW Metals.” In 2021 Kotek sponsored HB 3372 blindsiding industries with a one-strike-and-you’re-out rule that would close the business if they had history of noncompliance with environmental quality.

Oregon is rich in minerals and the only producer of emery in the U.S. The Mined Land Regulation and Reclamation program is supported by fees paid by natural resource extraction permittees. In an unprecedented move Kotek sponsored HB 4302 in special session to raise the fees on permits for mineral exploration, mining operations, exclusion certificates, gas and oil drilling and exploration and geothermal well drilling operation. It also limits the number and distribution of onshore exploration sites and oil, gas and geothermal wells, limiting new developers from exploring more efficient and cost saving electricity.

The power displayed in the 2021 session was Kotek’s ability to lock in an alternative to cap-and-trade helping to sponsor and pass HB 2021. This bill requires retail electricity providers to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with electricity sold to Oregon consumers to 80% below baseline emissions levels by 2030, 90% below baseline emissions levels by 2035 and 100% below baseline emissions levels by 2040. Electric companies are required to develop clean energy plans for meeting clean energy targets, as if zero emissions were even possible or healthy for plant life.


--Donna Bleiler

Post Date: 2021-09-04 13:09:51Last Update: 2021-09-04 09:27:36



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