Legislative Agenda

OUR VALUES

The Hillsboro Chamber is a member-driven organization, proud to represent more than 800 small businesses, large employers and nonprofits operating in the Hillsboro area. These organizations – from the local restaurant and auto repair shop to large scale manufacturers – are integral to making the Hillsboro area a safe, healthy and innovative place to live, work and play. We urge the Oregon State Legislature to consider our guiding principles and engage our members as policy conversations and decisions ensue during the 2017 Legislative Session.

Guiding Principles:

  • Economic Growth: Promote policies that enable businesses of all sizes to thrive and grow.
  • Inclusivity: Engage and listen to business stakeholders on policies that impact how employers operate.
  • Collaboration: Develop policies collaboratively with a willingness to consider alternative paths and compromise agreements.
  • Fiscal Responsibility: Prioritize state spending based on outcomes and results to create a more balanced, stable budget.

OUR LEGISLATIVE PRIORITIES

We support policies that enable our members and their employees to grow and prosper together. We have the experience and context to help shape policies that can enhance the business climate for increased investment, high-wage job growth and a healthy community. The following priorities were developed by our members and approved by our Board of Directors.

Transportation Infrastructure Planning & Funding

A robust transportation package is integral to the economic health and vitality of Hillsboro and the state.

Support: As one of the fastest growing areas in Oregon, home to some of the state’s largest employers, and an area with significant transport of exports, the Legislature should prioritize the following projects that will help move people and goods that are integral to the state’s economy in a safer and more efficient manner.

  • Safety and Capacity Improvements to Tualatin Valley Highway
  • Highway 26 Capacity Improvements Between Cornelius Pass Road and Brookwood Parkway
  • Sunset Highway/Century Blvd. Overcrossing
  • Cornelius Pass Road jurisdictional transfer to ODOT
  • Southwest Corridor Transit Plan & Expanded Employment-Based Transit throughout Hillsboro area
  • Addressing Regional Bottleneck Areas and High Capacity Transit at
    • Hwy. 217
    • Rose Quarter
    • I-205

Tax Policies & Economic Development

Economic development tools, tax increases and tax credits have a direct impact on employers – their ability to stay in business, grow their employees, hire new employees and expand. Tax policies must take into account research, data and the voices of the business community and our direct connection to a thriving Oregon.

Priority: Any tax increase or adjustment to an economic development incentive must be developed in collaboration and in consensus with a broad-based business community.

Support: The retention of the Small Business Tax Cuts passed in the 2013 Legislative Session.

Support: Legislation that preserves and supports state and local tools to help businesses expand and hire new employees, including the strategic investment program, urban renewal and enterprise zones.

Oppose: Any changes to economic development tools, such as the SIP or enterprise zones that are not developed in consensus with a broad-base of the business community, including local chambers and statewide organizations.

State Budget & Spending

For the state’s long-term economic health, we cannot rely on tax increases to stabilize the state budget and fund a growing number of programs. The Legislature must prioritize state spending and decrease the growing PERS liability.

Support: Reforms to the Public Employee Retirement System to decrease the growing and unfunded long-term liability and to mitigate burdens on the biennial budget.

Support: A thorough review of state budget expenditures and their link to positive outcomes that improve the lives of Oregonians to develop a prioritized funding list and funding cuts to unneeded or underperforming programs.

Employment Issues

Legislators must keep in mind that employers are the small family-owned business competing with the online and global economy, the corporation that employs thousands of Oregonians, the community college struggling to keep tuition down, and the nonprofit with dedicated employees operating on a small budget. Employees are consumers, students and families who often bear the cost when too many mandates mean businesses and schools have to pass on costs. These considerations should be at the forefront of everyone’s minds when considering employment mandates.

Support: A pre-emption of local employment regulations.

Oppose: A mandated employer-funded Family Leave program. As it stands, Oregon businesses are trying to find ways to pay for mandated paid sick leave and an increased minimum wage passed less than 12-months ago, as well as changes to federal rules and regulations.

Oppose: Mandated Predictive Scheduling.

Land Use Issues & Housing

We know that employers prosper when employees have access to safe, affordable and diverse housing options. We value Hillsboro’s nature preserves and agricultural lands that our land use policies have protected, but we know that updating these policies is necessary to ensure the health and affordability of our growing community.

Support: Land use regulations that increase a broad range of housing options.

Support: Legislation that provides flexibility for Metro to respond to mid-cycle city requests for urban growth boundary expansions into urban reserves for needed residential development.

Energy Regulations

Oregon has already passed landmark legislation that will help transition Oregon away from coal and towards cleaner, renewable energy and put Oregon’s electricity sector on the path towards meeting the state’s greenhouse gas reduction goals. Carbon legislation at the state level will increase costs for consumers and business.

Oppose: State Cap and Trade legislation.

Oppose: Carbon Tax legislation that imposes cost on local employers.