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Expensive week in Salem

This has been an expensive couple weeks for you in the Oregon legislature. Despite record amounts of revenue, the majority party has focused on getting more money.  First from large corporations and having failed at that, turned to those who do not have the means to defend themselves: small businesses. The Oregon Constitution clearly states that any law that would raise revenue must be passed by a 3/5 majority of the legislature. This session, that would mean that at least one Republican in both the House and the Senate would have to vote with all of the Democrats to raise revenue. Instead of following the Constitution, the majority party moved forward with House Bill 2060, a bill to raise revenue from small businesses—and they chose to pass it without any Republican votes because they said it only “removed tax breaks” instead of raising revenue.  This was based on the opinion of one attorney in the Capitol.

For small businesses with less than 10 employees—which, across the state, that size makes up over 80 percent of our businesses, and in Newberg it’s 91 percent—this is a huge deal.

HB2060 combined with HB 2391, the health insurance premium tax on small business would make a total of $341 million raised in new small business taxes in the past two weeks. At some point, government must learn to live within its means, not keep squeezing money out of Oregonians who are just trying to pursue their dreams and who create the majority of the jobs in our state.

In addition to passing taxes the House also passed another controversial bill last week—HB3464. This bill seeks to restrict the ability of state and local agencies, including law enforcement, to inquire about an individual’s immigration status. The bill specifically prohibits public agencies from disclosing information to the federal government except in certain circumstances. As someone who was elected by you to represent House District 25 and who swore an oath to uphold both the Oregon and United States Constitutions, I find this bill very offensive—our nation is one of laws, not lawlessness.

I firmly believe that America is and will continue to be a nation of immigrants—but we have clear laws and procedures for our immigration process and those need to be followed by those who would come to build a new life in our amazing nation. Passing laws like HB3464 is a cheap way to score political points, not the way to thoughtfully create laws for our state and nation.

On a more positive note, one of the bills I was happy to cosponsor, HB2732, recently went into effect. This bill allows a passerby to break a window to free a child or pet left in a hot vehicle. During the heat wave last weekend, at least one dog was already rescued from a hot car because this bill was passed. As we go into the summer, remember if you see a kid or pet trapped in a hot car, you can do something about it.

(Bill Post represents House Dis- trict 25. He can be reached at 503- 986-1425 or via email at rep.bill- [email protected])