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SB 139 taxes small business by nearly 20%

 

By Oregon Small Business Association,

UPDATE JULY 12, 2021: The $50 million small business tax barely passed the Senate on June 21st and House on June 24th.  It is now before the Governor’s desk.

Here is a technical description of the bill:

Senate Bill 139 raises small business taxes on family owned businesses by nearly 20%.  It raises the income rate for these family owned businesses (pass through entities, LLCs, partnerships) by $50 million.

Oregon small business owners are outraged that Oregon will be among the few states that will be raising taxes on small businesses in the pandemic thanks to SB 139 which passed the Senate. Despite record level budget surplus and opposition from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers, the small business tax still narrowly passed the Senate by one vote.

SB 139 raises $50 million in new taxes on small family-owned businesses and mostly on the small family-owned businesses. Many small shops will see their tax rate increase by 17%. The bill sets up a new complex “outside” employee requirement – so if your business is run by just your family and fellow owners your tax rates goes up by the 17%.

According to the Legislative Revenue office this bill targets around 2000 small mom & pop or start-up business owners who are unable, or have yet, to hire outside employees – targeting these smallest businesses to raise their tax rates.

Literally two businesses conducting the exact same activity, with the same revenue, with the same legal structure, would pay dramatically different tax rates – separated only by who meets this complex employee requirement scheme.

The $50 million tax comes at a time when State Government has been witnessing billions in surplus revenue from a rebounding economy and Federal relief funds.
Oregon has already lost over 1,000 restaurants in the pandemic. One closed restaurant made their Facebook announcement by saying, “It hurts to be a small business casualty of Covid-19…There’s a reason I can’t listen to the theme of cheers without crying my eyes out. It’s because I know exactly what it’s like to work in a place where people walk in the door and everybody knows their name.”  Although the lawmakers offered token tax relief for some businesses in the bill, the bill itself still raises $50 million in new taxes when it is fully implemented.

OSBA is asking everyone who cares about small family owned businesses to call the Governor and encourage her to veto SB 139.   The bill raises the tax rate set by a bipartisan group of lawmakers and Governor John Kitzhaber back in 2013.  In 2018 Governor Brown called a Special Session specifically to protect and expand the current tax rate for small business.   Now Governor is being asked to do the opposite by raising the tax rate on small businesses and during a pandemic.

Governor Kate Brown
Leave a message for her to Veto SB 139 the small business tax.

Phone: (503) 378-4582

bill language on SB 139 here.

 

 

Portland downtown facing slow exodus

By Oregon Small Business Association,

The vacancy rate in Portland’s central business district hit 19.4 percent during the first quarter of 2021, while the city’s overall vacancy is 14.7 percent. But real estate officials expressed optimism for improvement in the next year or two—especially when compared with the decline of the past year.

Numbers are still likely to look dim in the second quarter, but optimism and movement in the market will be reflected later in the year and during 2022 and 2023, according to Jacob Pavlik, Colliers real estate’s research manager, who was interviewed by the Portland Business Journal. The market’s net absorption shows a negative 900,476 square feet during the first quarter of the year, according to Colliers, far below the levels before onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Portland Tribune commented on Portland downtown decline, “State economist Josh Lehner pointed to the combination of business closures, less foot traffic and lower demand for office space as key factors in declining construction activity. Lehner said leading demand for office, retail, and leisure and hospitality space would need to rebound considerably for vacancy rates to decline and rents to increase. In his outlook for this year, Lehner noted that “it’s going to be a while before we build another office building,” and that Portland now ranks 66 out of 80 in national commercial real estate markets, according to a new report by PwC and the Urban Land Institute.”

 

Nike sues over rap star’s Satan shoes

By Oregon Small Business Association

Nike has sued MSCHF Product Studio Inc. of trademark infringement after the art collective modified black and red Nike Air Max 97 sneakers with a bronze pentagram charm and drop of human blood and sold them as Lil Nas X “Satan Shoes,” sparking a backlash on social media. The 666 modified Nikes sold out quickly with a price tag of more than $1,000 a pair. The lawsuit asks the court to stop MSCHF from fulfilling orders for the controversial sneakers, particularly after people on social media have threatened to boycott Nike over the Satan Shoes.

The company hasn’t named Lil Nas X as a party to the lawsuit even though the singer of “Old Town Road” collaborated with the art collective. Nike publicly stated it doesn’t have any relationship with MSCHF or Lil Nas X and never designed, released or endorsed the shoes that appear to promote Satanism. However, because the Nike swoosh logo is prominently displayed, the company contends it has suffered damages to its brand. MSCHF released “Jesus Shoes” in 2019.

Portland Studio Wins a Grammy


By Oregon Small Business Association

Mr. Rogers died in 2003, but his music lives on—and even won a Grammy this year for a Portland company that reissued a compilation of his songs. Omnivore Recordings won the award in the Best Historical Album category for It’s Such a Good Feeling: The Best of Mister Rogers, which featured Fred Rogers singing songs aired on his children’s program during its three decades on television. Omnivore’s collection beat Bela Fleck’s Throw Down Your Heart: The Complete Africa Sessions, the super-deluxe edition of Prince’s 1999, and Nat King Cole’s Hittin’ the Ramp: The Early Years (1936 – 1943). According to Willamette Week, Cheryl Pawelski, whose husband Audrey Bilger is president of Reed College, founded reissue label, which next plans to release the earliest recording of poet Allen Ginsberg reading his famous tome “Howl” in 1956 at Reed College.

Beaverton Restaurant Cheated 39 Workers on Payroll

By Oregon Small Business Association

The U.S. Labor Department has ordered the owners of a Beaverton restaurant to pay more than $400,000 in back pay to its 39 employees.

Buffet Palace paid a flat monthly wage to its employees, no matter how many hours they worked, resulting at times in an hourly wage of $5, which is below the federal $7.25 minimum wage. The restaurant also paid no overtime for people working more than 40 hours a week, according to the Portland Business Journal.

An investigation by the Labor Department Wage and Hour Division discovered that the owners falsified payroll records.

The $417,737 judgment against Buffet Palace includes $16,000 in civil penalties.

Restaurants Slow to Re-Open Despite Lifted Rules

By Oregon Small Business Association

Although Multnomah County restaurants area can reopen to serve customers indoors, many owners and operators hesitate to invest in rehiring workers and restocking kitchens when a spike in coronavirus cases could force them to shut their doors again. The uncertainty for restaurant owners, who have been forced twice in the past year to close to indoor dining, has them wondering whether they’ll earn enough by serving a reduced number of customers to cover their expenses, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Gov. Kate Brown stated that Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties are all now at the moderate risk levels, meaning they can soon boost indoor dining capacity to 50 percent.

Annie Cuggino, chef at the high-end downtown Q restaurant, recently opened the restaurant for the third time. Rather than reopening now, the owners of Le Pigeon and Canard plan to keep operating in a popup tent at the Jupiter Next hotel until April. As case counts keep plunging and vaccinations increase, they’ll hire and train workers and then reopen as long as it’s safe for both customers and employees.

The owners of Holler, Bullard and Abigail Hall restaurants won’t reopen until it’s safe and, noting the slim margins in the restaurant business, want to make certain limits on seating will enable them to cover all their costs. They said they can’t justify the expense of opening a 70-seat restaurant at 25 percent capacity. They might survive at 50 percent capacity, but they don’t want to lay off employees again if the state orders another shutdown.

The RingSide restaurant created a backup plan to reopen the dining room gradually while continuing to fulfill to-go orders. The restaurant also has created an outdoor dining area to use if the state orders more closures.

Vanessa Preston, owner of Café Nell, told KPTV said her restaurant is ready for whatever happens, taking safety measures, limiting the number of customers, and sanitizing each table after every use.

Olympia Provisions nearby isn’t allowing customers inside the restaurant but only outside or in the atrium until all staff members are vaccinated. Executive chef Katherine Roe said they’re keeping maskless people away from their employees.

Although Multnomah County restaurants area can reopen to serve customers indoors, many owners and operators hesitate to invest in rehiring workers and restocking kitchens when a spike in coronavirus cases could force them to shut their doors again. The uncertainty for restaurant owners, who have been forced twice in the past year to close to indoor dining, has them wondering whether they’ll earn enough by serving a reduced number of customers to cover their expenses, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Gov. Kate Brown stated that Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties are all now at the moderate risk levels, meaning they can soon boost indoor dining capacity to 50 percent.

Annie Cuggino, chef at the high-end downtown Q restaurant, recently opened the restaurant for the third time. Rather than reopening now, the owners of Le Pigeon and Canard plan to keep operating in a popup tent at the Jupiter Next hotel until April. As case counts keep plunging and vaccinations increase, they’ll hire and train workers and then reopen as long as it’s safe for both customers and employees.

The owners of Holler, Bullard and Abigail Hall restaurants won’t reopen until it’s safe and, noting the slim margins in the restaurant business, want to make certain limits on seating will enable them to cover all their costs. They said they can’t justify the expense of opening a 70-seat restaurant at 25 percent capacity. They might survive at 50 percent capacity, but they don’t want to lay off employees again if the state orders another shutdown.

The RingSide restaurant created a backup plan to reopen the dining room gradually while continuing to fulfill to-go orders. The restaurant also has created an outdoor dining area to use if the state orders more closures.

Vanessa Preston, owner of Café Nell, told KPTV said her restaurant is ready for whatever happens, taking safety measures, limiting the number of customers, and sanitizing each table after every use.

Olympia Provisions nearby isn’t allowing customers inside the restaurant but only outside or in the atrium until all staff members are vaccinated. Executive chef Katherine Roe said they’re keeping maskless people away from their employees.

Survey: 81% Businesses Witnessing Crime Increase

By Oregon Small Business Association Foundation

A survey by the Oregon Small Business Association Foundation has revealed that roughly 81% of the small business community is witnessing an increase in criminal activity.

This crime wave on top of a pandemic and lockdown makes it unbearable for small business.

For one Farmers Market Owner, crime is an everyday problem as he stated, “My business catches thieves every day.”

In the survey a Portland Resident said, “Both crime and homelessness are way up in my city.” Recent data from the Portland Police Bureau back up those facts, as Portland has seen a 47% increase in vandalism and 32% increase in burglaries.

The survey represented the thoughts of over 400 small business owners, leader and advocates across Oregon from the period between December 2020 and January 2021.

$100M Set Aside for Business Rent Relief

By Oregon Small Business Association

Business owners who have fallen behind on their rent payments during the coronavirus pandemic may receive help from Business Oregon, the state’s economic development agency, which is managing the $100 million set aside by state lawmakers for rent relief.

But receiving the money may take four to six weeks as the agency builds a program to distribute the money, according to the Portland Business Journal.

Business owners will need to apply for the funding allocated Jan. 8 by the Legislature’s joint emergency board. It may be set up as a grant to pay delinquent lease payments for small businesses falling behind because of COVID-19. Businesses might receive $100,000 or $200,000, perhaps distributed by lottery.

A state moratorium preventing eviction of delinquent residential and commercial tenants expired at the end of 2020. In December, Oregon legislators provided $200 million in December to help residents and landlords cover their rents.

Landlords Sue Portland, Multnomah Cty and State

By Oregon Small Business Association

Multifamily Northwest, a group of landlords contending that renters are between $800 million and $900 million behind in payments, filed a lawsuit in federal court against Oregon State, Multnomah County, and the city of Portland.

The suit was filed after the Oregon State Legislature approved more money for landlords whose tenants are behind in rent payments because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Oregonian/Oregon Live. The legislation extended the moratorium on evictions until June 30.

The state set aside $150 million in a fund for landlords with delinquent renters, and added another $50 million to rental relief programs, but to qualify for the money, landlords must agree to waive 20 percent of the rent owed.

An attorney for several landlords said lawmakers failed to responsibly address the housing crisis created by state and local leaders.

No Cases Tied to Gyms. Time to Re-Open

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Citing a University of Oregon study, the owners of Planet Fitness have urged Gov. Kate Brown to reopen gyms because they pose fewer risks of spreading coronavirus than bars or restaurants. While accepting the need for some restrictions, the owners say Oregon is one of only five states to close gyms during the latest attempts to curtail the spread of the virus, according to the Portland Business Journal. The UO’s Consulting Group study, commissioned by a group representing fitness centers, found little correlation between gym attendance and COVID cases. Planet Fitness said among the 1.2 million members who checked into its gyms through Nov. 30, only 0.00119 percent tested positive. Oregon’s COVID restrictions have closed 20 Planet Fitness locations, forcing the layoff of 260 employees.