Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Nike's Special Session

Nike told Governor John Kitzhaber the company would expand elsewhere or actually move out of Oregon. The result is that on Friday, Oregon's legislature will all collect in Salem for the Phil Knight Special Session.

I don't blame Phil Knight for asking the governor to give assurances and incentives--that are still unclear--for large companies in Oregon.

But why are the Democrats falling all over themselves listening to him now?

Unsolved mystery.

Did they listen when Knight said of Measures 66 & 67,

"[they] should be labeled Oregon's Assisted Suicide Law II. They will allow us to watch a state slowly killing itself. They are anti-business, anti-success, anti-inspirational, anti-humanitarian, and most ironically, in the long run, they will deprive the state of tax revenue, not increase it"?

No. Democrats conceived of the huge tax increases on individuals --giving Oregon the highest income tax in the land. Democrats went for the tax on gross receipts--taking money for the state before a business even made money! Democrats engineered the referral to the people. Democrats' money bought the ads which pushed the referenda through with both getting more than 53% of the vote.

NOW Democrats are listening to Phil Knight?

Did Democrats listen when business owners begged them not to send the automatic minimum wage initiative to the ballot because it would kill jobs? Did they listen when they were told that all their development fees, environmental overlays, regulations and check jacks would kill jobs?

Now they're supposedly pro business? Pass the smelling salts, I'm getting a case of the vapors!

Here's the announced deal:
Kitzhaber will ask the Legislature to create a new economic development tool that gives the Oregon Department of Revenue the ability to enter into agreements with companies interested in investing in the state that their tax situation will not change. Kitzhaber said the companies must agree to invest a mininium of $150 million in Oregon over five years and create a minimum of 500 family-wage jobs to qualify.
That must have been sooooooome phone call from Nike's CEO to Kitzhaber's office. Maybe Phil Knight made the phone call himself. Perhaps what prompted the request by Nike were all the headlines we've been reading lately about how Democrats want a sales tax, a bag ban and a reduction in tax breaks, among other job killing ideas in the upcoming legislative session.

Maybe Kitzhaber knows he would have had a battle royal to get these incentives with his own party in the newly constituted Democrat majority House and Senate and chose to do it with business friendly Republicans in this special lame duck session. 

With that last observation in mind, you might want to go back and listen to my discussion with outgoing Co Speaker of the House, Republican Bruce Hanna at 2:05 yesterday.

If the Republicans are being used to make the Governor and recalcitrant Democrats look good on business (smirk), they should get a quid pro quo for small business as well.

Oregon, I'm told constantly, is a small business state. The reasons for that are obvious. Small business should get something out of this special session too. It's too bad no one thought of it.

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