Government Affairs Committee Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Lebanon Chamber is to be a leading business membership organization that supports a thriving regional economic base that is enabled by education, research, entrepreneurship, agriculture, manufacturing, and a robust retail sector. These efforts combined result in a great place to live and work.

The Lebanon Chamber of Commerce is interested in local and state issues. The Chamber shall be non-partisan, non-sectarian. Positions taken publicly by the Chamber on issues shall be clearly designated as the position of the Board of Directors or as the position of the membership. The Board of Directors may take stands on local, regional and statewide issues effecting the betterment of the community within the guidelines of the Lebanon Chamber of Commerce mission statement. The Board must be presented with both pro and con’s concerning the issues. If a position is taken, the Board will inform the membership and the public through the Chamber Newsletter and other appropriate channels. The Chamber will not directly endorse any candidate or party for public office.

The Government Affairs Committee (GAC) is a committee that is comprised of Chamber members who are responsible for representing member businesses by monitoring local and state activities that affect the business community. The GAC will act to educate members

Objectives:
To represent the interests of the Chamber membership the GAC will:
• Communicate an understanding and appreciation in local and state government arenas that the local business community plays in creating and sustaining a healthy and diversified local economy.
• Promote a broad understanding of the importance of a competitive free enterprise system and provide an attractive business climate that will encourage a sustainable economy and livable community.
• Create educational and networking opportunities to inform Chamber members about public policy issues that may affect their businesses or the overall business climate.
• Encourage representatives of the business community to serve on governmental advisory committees, commissions and to seek local political offices.
• Proactively work to ensure that governmental regulation and land development policies are reasonable and fair and provide adequate land for commercial and residential development.
It is the responsibility of the GAC to identify an action committee during election times to plan and provide a public forum for candidates and issues to present their viewpoints in front of the community.

Check out the following links for Important information on measure 97 and so much more by Associated Oregon Industries:

AOI Business News

More to Come…..

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Important Information on measure 97 –

LEBANON CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Learn More About Measure 97 – the $6 billion tax increase on Oregon’s November ballot.
Oregonians should be very concerned about Measure 97 (M97) – the $6 billion tax increase that will be on the November ballot. We’re urging our members to learn more about M97.
Here’s why.
Measure 97 proposes a new 2.5% tax on the total Oregon sales—not profits—of businesses organized as C-Corps that generate $25 million or more. In fact, businesses would be required to pay the new tax whether they make a profit or not.
Measure 97 would hurt Oregon based companies more than large, vertically integrated national corporations because of tax pyramiding, and because Oregon companies will also be subject to increased costs for electricity, fuel, insurance, and other operating costs. Furthermore, this measure is unfair in its implementation—it would exempt businesses organized as S Corps or B Corps regardless of how many millions of dollars they have in sales or profits.
Despite misleading claims by its sponsors, much of the $6 billion in new taxes raised by M97 – by far the largest tax increase in state history – will be passed on to Oregon consumers in the form of higher prices for nearly everything they buy – with no exemptions for food, medicine, clothing, utilities, insurance, and even medical care.
Perhaps most concerning, M97 does nothing to guarantee the new tax revenues would go to schools, healthcare, or senior services. All of the new taxes would go to the General Fund, giving politicians and bureaucrats a blank check to spend billions of dollars as they please with no accountability to the public. The Legislative Counsel recently confirmed that “[M97] would not bind a future legislature in its spending decisions. If [M97] becomes law, the Legislative Assembly may appropriate revenues generated by the measure any way it chooses.” It’s a blank check for politicians and bureaucrats.
These aren’t just our opinions. In May, the nonpartisan Oregon Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) released a report to the House and Senate Revenue Committees highlighting the significant effects that M97 would have on the Oregon economy.
The report is packed with information illustrating how damaging and costly this proposal would be for small and medium-sized businesses, as well as Oregon consumers. A few of the LRO’s findings include:
1. The measure would cost Oregonians more than $6 billion per biennium, by far the largest tax increase in Oregon history. The LRO report highlights that two-thirds of these costs would be paid for by Oregon consumers and small businesses.

2. The impact on the Oregon economy would be staggering – more than 38,000 private sector jobs would be lost as a result of M97. The report states, “Our economic simulation shows that if IP28 becomes law it will dampen income, employment and population growth over the next 5 years.”

3. The report confirms that IP28 would especially hurt lower-income Oregonians. According to the report, Oregonians hit hardest by the tax would be those earning less than $21,000 a year.
This November, Oregon voters have a serious decision on their hands, and we think it’s important for all of our Lebanon Chamber of Commerce members to know what’s at stake. For more information about M97 or to join the coalition working to defeat the measure, please visit Defeat97.com.

MEASURE 97

Arguments in Opposition to Measure 97
1. Under Measure 97 consumer prices would rise on common products and commodities such as food, electricity, insurance, healthcare, medicine, fuel and other essentials.
2. Nothing in Measure 97 guarantees that new tax revenues would be earmarked to fund education, healthcare and senior services. The funds would go into the General Fund.
3. Measure 97 would dampen Oregon’s economy. Loss of private sector jobs – 38,000, and increase public sector jobs by 17,700.
4. Measure 97 taxes sales not profits. Corporations that have marginal profits would either go out of business or shrink. That could mean laying off workers and ordering fewer goods and services thereby creating additional layoffs in other sectors.
5. Measure 97 is a tax on a tax: from manufacturer to distributor to retailer to consumer. The businesses would pay the tax and pass along the cost to consumers in the form of higher prices.
6. Creates a regressive tax. Measure 97 would have its largest proportional impact on low and medium income families. All prices on goods would rise unlike a sales tax that typically exempts certain items.
7. Measure 97 would increase state and local taxes by $600 per year on average for every man, woman and child in Oregon, totaling over $6 billion each full biennium.

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Lebanon Candidates – Questions Answered:

    The Chamber sent out questions for our local candidates – here are the responses:

    Paul Aziz for Mayor, Incumbent
    1) How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?

    I have been involved with the Chamber’s Economic Development Committee and we work on many facets of economic development and always searching for new ways to encourage business to locate here and bring new jobs.

    We will continue to make it easy for businesses to locate here in Lebanon. We have several large sites available and several companies have been interested in these properties. In each case the deal fell through because of the cost of wetlands mitigation. We have a project and are working on reevaluating our properties to determine the actual amount of wetlands, which could greatly reduce the costs on these properties.

    I am very interested in the small business incubator model which has been very successful in many communities. We are in the process of renovating our downtown which will become the heart of our community and it will bring new businesses downtown.

    2) What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?

    Homelessness

    We have had an increase in our homeless population in the past 5 or so years. We have the Lebanon Soup Kitchen and other services to help out, but there needs to be a better answer. My big question is, why? Why do we have so many homeless?

    We are hosting a homeless summit in October to bring the community together and discuss the issues and solutions. The entire community and all organizations are invited. Dr. Marbut will be the facilitator and he has spent time on the ground here in Lebanon talking with the homeless and others in the community to understand what our issues are.

    Nearly every community in Oregon is dealing with this problem and we are working on a solution. My biggest concern is that we do not do things that attract homeless people from the outside. But rather help the homeless people in our community to better themselves if they desire. Addiction counseling, job skills and resume building are all positive steps towards help getting them back on their feet.

    3) What unique quality do you bring to this position?

    I am not a politician, even though running for office and holding office technically makes me one. I am a citizen, a business owner and my unique quality is that I am a troubleshooter.

    Any problem large or small, I love the challenge of solving a problem. From my days in high school government to being a police officer, to being a computer repair guy, I have always taken a challenge with enthusiasm. I keep a positive attitude and know that any problem can be solved and there might be more than one solution.

    4) What is your position on Measure 97?

    Measure 97 would be very bad for everyone in Oregon. It is a huge tax on the gross sales of larger companies. That is a tax on all sales, not the profit.

    Businesses that do not fall under this law will still be affected, and so will every resident. Every single product and service will have to increase their prices because the tax is being passed on to them.

    Just as important, there is NO guarantee that the money from Measure 97 will go to schools or anywhere specific. The measure does not have any safeguards to keep the money focused on schools, and even if it did, the next legislature could change it and all the money could go for whatever projects legislators want.

    This measure is a tax on everyone. If passed the legislature will get more money in the pot, but there is no guarantee where this money will go. I would like to see the legislature spend the money they currently have in a much more fiscally responsible way. They do not need more tax money to spend.

    I am voting No on Measure 97.

    5) What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?

    I worked to get the Lebanon motto back, “The City that Friendliness Built.”

    20 years ago when I was working in Albany and commuting from Salem, I went home shopping. I looked at all the communities around, but I found that Lebanon seemed like home. The people were friendly and there was just a really great community feeling.

    Today, I still see this daily as people help others all over our community. After we completed the Lebanon 2040 Vision, it was clear that our community likes the small town feeling and values but also enjoys the economic success.

    This strength also carries over to resilience. Our community has been through a huge change in economy when the timber industry took a dive. But with education and economic development Lebanon has rebuilt itself and rebounded from what could have been devastating for another town.

    Lebanon is now a leader in Oregon in economic development and an example on how to turn a town around after the timber industry decline. We have a major hospital, a medical university, a college with high tech automotive training and many other important industries and companies.

    The future for Lebanon is very bright and I am excited to help lead our community in such a positive direction.

    I ask that you vote for me for another term as Mayor so that I can continue to lead and help guide Lebanon in the next two years.

    John Hitt, City Council Ward 3

    * How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?
    John Hitt Response: We need a well thought-out and targeted business recruitment plan. A plan that will focus on medical, educational, business and professional services that are a good match/fit with the medical college, veterans home, advanced transportation center and others that have come to Lebanon in recent years. Greater involvement with the Oregon Economic Development Association, Council of Governments, and our local businesses and organizations could go a long way toward establishing contacts with those organizations and businesses that might be attracted to Lebanon.
    * What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?
    John Hitt Response: Our biggest challenge to effective business recruitment, as well as our community quality of life, is the somewhat minimal community amenities that we offer and the excessive number of blighted and substandard properties in the town. While progress has been made in recent years, much remains to be done.
    This can be remedied by updating our property maintenance standards and then proactively working with property owners to help make upgrades. In addition, we need greater public input as to what community amenities are most important to our citizens (walking trails? bicycle lanes? athletic fields? water sports? etc.) An amenities improvement plan, with specific dates and funding identified, needs also to include consideration of the needs and interests of those businesses and organizations we hope to attract in the future.

    * What unique quality do you bring to the city?
    John Hitt response: I think the primary quality or benefit I can bring to the city is the length and depth of my experience in local government. I have been involved with small cities and counties in three states for over 25 years. Having served as a mayor, city councilor, economic development director, and city manager gives me an understanding of what works and what doesn’t in small cities like Lebanon. It has also helped me develop the skills to carefully review and deliberate all sides of an issue with the end of developing an effective community and city council consensus.
    * What is your position on Measure 97?
    John Hitt Response: I am opposed to Measure 97. This measure, if passed, would impose additional burdens on Oregon businesses and hurt future growth of jobs.
    * What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?
    John Hitt Response: Lebanon is blessed with many outstanding attributes. These include, among others, a strong local economy, a city infrastructure prepared for growth, amazing local organizations and businesses such as Comp Northwest, Entek, Lowes, the veterans home, LBCC, etc. But perhaps chief of these is a citizenry that is not afraid of change and looks forward to a future that will be even better than the past

    Forest Bosley, Mayoral Candidate

    * How would you go about recruiting new business and industry to Lebanon?

    New businesses and industry need to see that moving into the town is worth it to them. This would require us to ensure that they will be setting on fertile ground. We do this by improving the local economy and by improving the value of the local workforce. By leveraging on community resources like Worksource Oregon we could help fill the gaps in local labor skills. With the downtown being revitalized we can show that our economy can support more businesses.

    * What do you think is the biggest challenge facing this community? How would you fix it?

    Lebanon’s local economy is heavily hit. This disrupts our towns budget which in turn weakens our schools, our community safety and our ability to provide basic services. We need new local jobs to come in to feed our economy. We need new businesses to provide the diversity in our town that draws visitors. In order to do that we have to invest time and money into our communities, our workforce and our local businesses. I believe that with an investment in the people of our community, we can see a great return.

    * What unique quality do you bring to this position?

    I bring a forward thinking perspective. I like to analyze and develop strategies to solve problems while they’re still a developing issue or before it becomes a larger problem. By listening to the community we can open dialogues about what the community sees is a problem building and we can work together to solve it.

    * What is your position on Measure 97?

    I’m for Measure 97. After doing research into the measure itself I can’t help but be for it. Corporation’s are using a standard tactic of saying that it is a sales tax, it is not. This measure won’t raise your price of goods. Right now we are paying the same price for goods as states with much larger corporate taxes. This is only a tax on less then 1% of the large Oregon corporations’ sales.

    * What is Lebanon’s biggest strength?

    Our community. We have amazing groups of people who will go out of their way to help others, without asking anything in return. They will share new ideas, praise each other for doing a good job and give you the shirt off their back if you needed it, I want to see that grow. I want to see the whole town feeling the sense of community, not just some. That we are all here together and we all, regardless of differences, can stand side by side.