Message from the CEO: March 2023

Photo of Mount Jefferson

The 82nd Oregon Legislative Assembly convened​ for the 2023 Session on Tuesday, January 17th, and over the next few months, hundreds of bills will be considered. EDCO is hard at work ensuring state and local leaders understand all the direct, indirect, intended, and unintended consequences of their decision-making. EDCO is focused on providing information and education to political leaders on bills that could positively or negatively impact business’s ability to thrive and grow their employment.

While there are several bills in both the House and Senate that could impact businesses, EDCO is most focused on:

  • Preserving and extending the duration of the Enterprise Zone program, an economic development incentive tool that provides temporary property tax abatement to qualified companies who invest in buildings and/or equipment and grow employment. A 2022 study commissioned by Business Oregon found that long-term economic activity was 29 times the value of the initial exempted tax value. As zone managers, EDCO is working with 74 companies that active authorizations, who collectively project the creation of 1,049 jobs and over $1.6 billion in capital investment for Central Oregon.
  • Supporting the Industrial Site Readiness Program which, under the current bills proposed, would provide state support to local communities for infrastructure investments to create more “shovel-ready” land for industrial development. In our region, we have 2,400 acres of industrial land available with lot sizes greater than 20 acres that need infrastructure (i.e. utilities). The Industrial Site Readiness Program, known as RSIS (Regionally Significant Industrial Site), is a performance-based economic development tool that offers state income tax reimbursements to local governments that make industrial sites ready for industrial development.
  • Supporting Commercial Activity Tax (CAT) reform that will increase the filing threshold from $1 million to $5 million. According to research conducted by Oregon Business & Industry, the business tax burden imposed by the state has increased by almost 45% since this legislation passed in 2019. Raising the filing threshold will help many small businesses and ensure that Oregon remains a place where entrepreneurship and businesses can thrive.

We work closely with the Oregon Economic Development Association (OEDA) to stay informed on legislative activity. If you’d like to stay apprised of these and other bills that could impact businesses, the OEDA Bill Tracker is available here.