Access to Capital: The Main Street Alliance of Oregon, Hatch and Representative Tobias Reid worked to create the Community Public Offering, a new tool for Oregon-based businesses to raise up to $250,000 from fellow Oregonians. Made legal through the Oregon Intrastate Offering Exemption rules on January 15, 2015, it offers the chance to raise capital from ALL Oregon residents, regardless of wealth.
Retirement Security: After several events with coalition partners from Save Today, Secure Tomorrow and support from our State Treasurer, HB 2960 was signed by Governor Brown on June 26th. HB 2960 creates the Oregon Retirement Savings Fund Board and directs the board to create a retirement savings plan accessible to all Oregonians.
Economy-Boosting Jobs: Paid Sick Days, SB 454, had a rousing public hearing in April that was attended by more than 300 people. Legislators listened to impassioned testimony until nearly 10pm at night! With broad support from community groups, small business owners and working families from across the state, this bill was also signed by Governor Brown on June 26th.
HB 3025, also signed on June 26th by the Governor, establishes unlawful practice of inquiring into or considering applicant’s conviction history on application form or prior to interview or, if no interview is conducted, prior to conditional offer of employment. This bill was supported by our allies at AFL-CIO and The Urban League of Portland.
Although, we worked towards raising the minimum wage this session, our legislatures failed to pass any of the more than a dozen bills that were introduced. However, MSA helped to build strong support in the business community and will be working towards raising the wage to $13.50/hr in 2016.
A Healthier Oregon: After years of fighting against Big Oil, the Oregon Clean Fuels Program, SB 324, was passed and signed into law by Governor Brown on March 12. Our Co-Chair and Co-Owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland, Jim Houser, had this to say: “Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program will provide the regulatory certainty Oregon businesses need to invest, helping our economy and expanding family-wage jobs across the state.”
Our communities, families and children are safer now that toxics are out of toys! SB 478 passed and was signed into law this session as well. A big win to help ensure a healthier Oregon!
Thanks for all of your support fighting for Oregon Main Street Businesses and our working families!
The Main Street Alliance of Oregon is proud to introduce Onofre Contreras Jr. as Partnerships and Initiatives Manager.
We look forward to Onofre joining in our mission to represent small businesses to advance reforms in health care, corporate taxation, education, jobs and the Oregon economy among other pressing small business issues issues.
Onofre has spent the past eight years building enduring relationships with Oregon government leaders, community based organizations and the business community while working on health care reform efforts and the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.
Onofre joins us with a varied background that includes significant government management and operations experiences. He has served as an assistant county administrator as well as other local government roles in a 20-year career. In capacities as a city administrator and planning/public works director he has facilitated many contentious public issues as a bridge-builder to bring about consensus on matters of concern to elected officials, grassroots community members and business leaders.
In his work with the Oregon Primary Care Association representing community health clinics and the Oregon Health Action Campaign advocating for health reform, Onofre established relationships with government, business and community stakeholders to fund community health centers and support passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Most recently with Cover Oregon he helped navigate the work of the 23-member community advisory committee composed of insurance agents, small business, community advocates and consumers of Oregon health insurance services.
Having previously worked in partnership with The Main Street Alliance Oregon on various projects, Onofre is drawn to the mission, values and goals of the organization and he looks forward to joining the staff and small business members of The Main Street Alliance to help build a better Oregon.
Small business owners: We’re proud to be American businesses and proud to pay our fair share of taxes
**Small Business Owners Available for Comment**
Portland, OR–– With Tax Season in full swing, business owners and working families across the country are standing together, proud to live, work, and support the United States and their local communities. Small business owners here in Oregon know that their tax dollars go to support the communities that help to make their businesses thrive. Investments in our schools, public infrastructure, safety, and much more depend on everyone paying their fair share of taxes.
Despite relying on American customers and taxpayers for their profitability, many large businesses have recently decided to undertake a so-called “corporate tax inversion,” made possible by a loophole in the tax code that allows American companies to reincorporate in a foreign country when just 20% of its stock is owned outside of the United States.
In response, today over 500 business owners, The Main Street Alliance (MSA), and the American Sustainable Business Council (ASBC) have pledged to remain in the US, and not abandon their country.
“As a small business owner, I’m grateful for my country and community, they’ve helped my business thrive for over 32 years,” said Jim Houser, owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic in Portland. “I’m proud to pay my fair share of taxes to help keep my community healthy and strong. My tax dollars help pay for roads and bridges, schools and teachers, and all other public services that my business, and my customers, depend on. Big corporations should do the same and pay their fair share for all the services that helped them build their abundant profits.”
Business owners across the country—and political spectrum—overwhelmingly support closing corporate tax loopholes, like ones that allow for inversions, rather than making more cuts. Small business owners in Oregon are calling for the Legislature—and Congress—to close tax loopholes that allow businesses to extract wealth from our communities.
“The problem is not competing with big corporations,” said Deborah Field, co-owner of Paperjam Press. “It’s that those corporations are using loopholes to dodge their U.S. tax responsibility. That leaves us, small businesses and working families, to pick up the tab. If those businesses continue to leech off of our communities, and are unwilling to re-invest in America by paying their fair share, then Congress needs to act. Our tax structure should be refashioned to provide our government the financial means to create the economy-boosting jobs necessary to restore our ailing economy and help small businesses rebuild the middle class.”
The Main Street Alliance is a national network of state-based small business coalitions. MSA and its state affiliates create opportunities for small business owners to speak for themselves on issues that impact their businesses and local economies. www.mainstreetalliance.org
The American Sustainable Business Council and its member organizations represent more than 165,000 businesses nationwide, and more than 300,000 entrepreneurs, executives, managers, and investors. ASBC informs and engages policy makers and the public about the need and opportunities for building a vibrant and sustainable economy. www.asbcouncil.org
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 17, 2015
Jim Houser, Co-Owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic & Co-Chair of The Main Street Alliance of Oregon
Oregon Businesses Applaud Senate Passage of Clean Fuels Program
Job creation and consumer savings to help boost Oregon’s economy
Today, the Oregon Senate passed Senate Bill 324 to reauthorize Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program, which will expand Oregon’s clean fuels market and reduce harmful pollution for cleaner air and healthier communities. Oregon business leaders, who have long supported the program for its jobs and economic growth benefits, praised the Senate reauthorization of the program as a critical step in moving forward Oregon’s homegrown, alternative fuel industry to create jobs.
“The Clean Fuels Program is a well-designed, market-based program that will spur economic activity while safe guarding businesses,” said Jim Houser, co-owner of Hawthorne Auto Clinic and co-chair of the Main Street Alliance of Oregon. “The Main Street Alliance of Oregon has supported the Clean Fuels Program since 2009, and we are pleased that the Senate today has taken us one step closer to finalizing this long process.”
An economic analysis commissioned by the Department of Environmental Quality found that expanding market access for alternative fuels, including electric vehicles, advanced biofuels, natural gas and propane, could create thousands of jobs in Oregon and save consumers more than a billion dollars.
“Reauthorizing the Clean Fuels Program will provide the regulatory certainty Oregon businesses need to invest, helping our economy and expanding family-wage jobs across the state,” said Houser.
Since 2009, business leaders have worked in conjunction with public health advocates, consumer groups, environmental organizations, labor groups, and other civic leaders in support of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program. By requiring oil importers to reduce their carbon pollution by 10% over 10 years, Oregon can reduce harmful pollution and expand Oregon’s own homegrown fuel industry.
Oregon businesses have long recognized the economic and jobs benefits of the bill. In 2014, more than a dozen companies including Waste Management, Moda Health, and ChargePoint signed on to a joint letter in support of Oregon’s Clean Fuels Program.
Earlier this month, the Clean Fuels Business Advisory Committee – which included representatives from Daimler, Intel, IBEW Local 48, NW Natural, Timbers Product Company, and others – released their report and recommendations to the Governor, unanimously recommending reauthorization of the Clean Fuels Program for Oregon’s jobs and economy.
Main Street Leaders meet with Congresswoman Bonamici – Women and working family issues addressed in new State of Main Street report
Portland, OR – This morning, Main Street Alliance of Oregon leaders, Deborah Field, co-owner of Paperjam Press, and Sara Howe and Christy Cushing, co-owners of Howe Innovative Design, met with Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici to release the new survey report, State of Main Street. This report challenges conventional perceptions of small business owners’ thoughts on key policy issues. It details responding business owners’ views on key issues facing Oregon and the nation.
Oregon small business owners are supportive of giving Oregon working families a fair shot—real opportunities to succeed and prosper with policies like basic standards for paid sick days as well as safe, secure, and effective retirement savings vehicles for small business owners and their employees. Women small business owners and business owners of color are particularly supportive of these policies. There is a clear call from the small business community that it’s time to rethink the “business as usual” agendas promoted by Big Business and special interest groups. We need to move towards understanding the whole picture of how our businesses interact with the communities we serve.
“Small businesses are a critical part of Oregon’s economy, especially in rural areas. Policies that support small businesses help create economic security and stability for working Oregonians. These policies include access to capital for those who want to start a new business, quality education, stable housing, and affordable health care,” Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici said. “When families earn a living wage, can take paid leave, and do not struggle to pay for child care, they are more likely to succeed and thrive. The Main Street Alliance report recognizes that these policies are good for small businesses because they lead to healthier families, a stronger local work force, increased consumer spending, and ultimately a stronger local economy.”
“As we continue to recover from this recession, I am committed to helping small businesses remain competitive in today’s market,” said Congressman Earl Blumenauer. “This report, issued by The Main Street Alliance of Oregon, clearly outlines some of the challenges that remain. While I’m concerned the benefits of our economic recovery aren’t being broadly felt, it’s encouraging to know Oregon’s small businesses feel as strongly as I do about the importance of affordable, quality healthcare, reforming our broken immigration system, and ensuring fair and equitable access to credit.”
The Main Street Alliance of Oregon hopes lawmakers, the media and other decision makers will look closely at the results of this survey in planning public policy. We encourage them to listen and respond to the true voices of Main Street.