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Oregon top consumer complaints

According to the Oregon Attorney General Office list of incoming calls of complaints, the number one complaint (repeating last year’s number one ranking) is imposter scam calls.  These calls make up more complaints than the remaining 9 other categories.

See the list below for yourself.

1. Imposter Scam Calls (5,049 complaints)
2. Telecommunications (941 complaints)
3. Motor Vehicle Sales (572 complaints)
4. Financial Services (358 complaints)
5. Health Related (300 complaints)
6. Collection Agencies (232 complaints)
7. International Money Transfer Schemes (226 complaints)
8. Auto Repair (203 complaints)
9. Home Ownership Issues (192 complaints)
10. Construction Contractors (164 complaints)

Legislators eye S-Corp and C-Corp Tax Bills

By Oregon Small Business Association,

Two important business tax bills up today in a House hearing.

House Bill 2831 increases to $1,000 the minimum tax paid by S corporations with more than $25 million in Oregon sales. The tax increase would affect less than one-half of one percent of Oregon S corporations and would raise less than $500,000 a year in new revenue.

HB 2831 is likely a Trojan horse for a future hike on most—or all—Oregon S corporations. Read more »

SB 165 steals small business tax savings

OSBA Works Against Small Business Tax Increase
By Oregon Small Business Association,

Oregon Small Business Association President T.J. Riley appeared before the Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue  to testify against SB 165. This bill would force small businesses across Oregon to add at least one full-time equivalent employee (FTE) in order to qualify for a tax break originally granted by the Legislature in 2013.

Under current law small businesses can reduce the tax rate applied to part of it’s tax liability. SB 165 would require that a business add an employee and have no reduction in average wages in any year in which it wants to claim the reduced tax rate. As pointed out in the hearing, this is not practical for a variety of reasons and if passed, SB 165 would likely dramatically reduce the number of small businesses that could qualify for the reduced rate. Read more »

Portland band trademark case before Supreme Court

Wall Street Journal Editorial,
Jan 18, 2017

If you start a rock band and give it a shocking name, can the government prevent you from trademarking it? That’s the question for the Supreme Court Wednesday as the Justices decide if the feds can discriminate against trademark applications based on the viewpoint of the speech.

Simon Tam formed an Asian-American rock band that calls itself “The Slants,” appropriating an ethnic slur as a statement against discrimination. That strategy has a long history. But when the Portland-based band applied for a trademark in 2011, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office denied the application on grounds that the name disparages Asians (Lee v. Tam). Read more »

The pitfalls of employee rewards

By Dr. Eric Fruits,
Oregon Economist
On Demand Newsletter

Employee of the Month. Sounds like a great idea. For the price of a cheap plaque and a good parking spot, bosses can motivate employees to deliver superior service. So the thinking goes.

Academics call it “status competition.” And sometimes it backfires.

Wells Fargo has been accused of opening millions of fake bank accounts. Employee compensation was tied to opening new accounts and workers could lose their jobs if they didn’t meet targets. They also had status competitions. Read more »

Rise of one-man manufacturers

The Wall Street Journal has reported on an unexpected business phenomenon in the manufacturing world.   As manufacturing jobs decline nationwide, there is an increase in one person manufacturing jobs run by businesses with only one employee.   This is proof that small business is still an important driver in jobs.

Three NW billionaires in top 25

According to Forbes which ranks the world’s billionaires, of the top 100, Phil Knight at #24 is the only Oregonian to make the list. Recently Knight made a donation of $500 million to his alma mater, the University of Oregon. The gift is the largest ever pledged to a public university. Bill Gates of Microsoft and Jeff Bezos of Amazon – – #1 and #5 respectively – – are the only others from the Pacific Northwest.

TOP 25 OF THE WORLD’S BILLIONAIRES

 

#1 Bill Gates $75 B
#2 Amancio Ortega $67 B
#3 Warren Buffett $60.8 B
#4 Carlos Slim Helu $50 B
#5 Jeff Bezos $45.2 B
#6 Mark Zuckerberg $44.6 B
#7 Larry Ellison $43.6 B
#8 Michael Bloomberg $40 B
#9 Charles Koch $39.6 B
#10 David Koch $39.6 B
#11 Liliane Bettencourt $36.1 B
#12 Larry Page $35.2 B
#13 Sergey Brin $34.4 B
#14 Bernard Arnault $34 B
#15 Jim Walton $33.6 B
#16 Alice Walton $32.3 B
#17 S. Robson Walton $31.9 B
#18 Wan Jianlin $28.7 B
#19 Jorge Paulo Lemann $27.8 B
#20 Li Ka-shing $27.1 B
#21 Beate Heister & Karl Albrecht Jr $25.9 B
#22 Sheldon Adelson $25.2 B
#23 Geroge Soros $24.9 B
#24 Phil Knight $24.4 B
#25 David Thomson $23.8 B

Measure 97 Would Hurt Small Business

The assumption behind Measure 97 is that every corporation is profitable and that the profits that these corporations are generating are excessive. If that assumption is true, then Measure 97 makes a lot of sense.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/functoruser/276749630/in/photolist-bDRPuS-qspXK-55fTkn-5vBFg9-abkXbg-F4Rt3c-9DMKdJ-e5zxP-5yWNhT-5yWN8t-8HraLJ-JhzCg-qspMR-qspUR-qspR5-dBUrc-5Cg9ji-5z26zu-5Ckto9-4GuvHG-oUg9oD-4NqrcX-4GuvKA-qsq2m

The problem is that it’s not true.

Did you know that the average corporation only makes 3 percent to 8 percent net profit? Oregon’s Measure 97 will tax these corporations 2.5 percent of their gross sales above $25 million (the tax is not on their profits). In other words, if a corporation makes a 4 percent net profit on sales above $25 million, they will have to pay out more than 50 percent of their actual profit.

In simpler terms, if a corporation generates $25 million in sales above the threshold and only makes a 3 percent net profit ($750,000), they will have to pay $625,000 in taxes. If they only make 2 percent net profit ($500,000), they will have to give all of their profits, and then some, to the Oregon Department of Revenue.

So why should you care? If you have any kind of retirement account, that money is most likely being invested in large corporations. Their profit or loss is your profit or loss.

Eventually these corporations will be forced to substantially raise their prices, which will result in higher costs to you. The estimates are currently $600 or more per Oregon household.

If every business were successful and profitable, then we absolutely should raise corporate taxes. The problem is that they’re not.

Did you know that only half of all new businesses will still be around in five years and that after 10 years, only 30 percent will be left? Maybe you will recognize some of these large companies that recently have gone bankrupt? Delta Airlines, Sports Authority, Circuit City, Linens & Things, Radio Shack, Borders Books, Blockbuster, Brookstone, and Sbarro Restaurant, just to name a few.

Measure 97 will likely increase the number of bankruptcies since it is a tax on sales and not on actual profits. Remember that bankruptcy destroys the lives of the people who work for that company.

As the corporate tax rates increase in Oregon, more businesses will move out of Oregon and some will even move out of the United States, causing increased unemployment.

Unemployment is the greatest drain on our society and public resources, while keeping people employed is the best way to fund our schools and other vital government services.

The proponents of Oregon’s Measure 97 make a great emotional appeal, but unfortunately it’s a very poor intellectual argument.

Photo credit: https://flic.kr/p/qsq2m

Seahawks #1 Ticket Price #3 Jerseys

This year the Seattle Seahawks finally dethroned the legacy of the New England Patriots for having the highest average ticket costs in the National Football League for secondary sales.

The total costs are $466 for an average home ticket price. The Patriots were slightly behind at $454. The data comes from an online ticket re-seller called TicketIQ.

 

These Seahawk ticket sales represent a 7% rise from the previous year.

The average NFL ticket cost is $248 for secondary pricing.
This puts the Seahawk prices not far from double the average team price.

The Seahawks also scored #3 on the most team Jerseys sold according to an analysis by the Wall Street Journal. The Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers take the number 1 and 2 spot respectively.

In 2015, Seahawk Quartback, Russel Wilson, was the NFL’s greatest seller of jersey and merchandise products for a single player according to the NFL website. The team appeal of the Seahawks appears to out-size both their team standing (four teams went farther in the play-offs than Seahawks in 2015) and their city/state home population compared to many other big population franchises.

 

Read more about Russell topping sales here — Russell Wilson merchandise remains NFL’s best seller

Read more about 2016 team sales here – When It Comes to Jerseys, Cowboys Are Still America’s Team

Oregon’s Coming Work Scheduling Mandate

The Oregon legislature is planning a new expansive employment law that deals with how employers schedule their workers. The new law makes it both more difficult and more expensive to schedule employees.

The law would likely include:

 

  • A requirement that employers provide work schedules two weeks in advance, with a penalty of up to four hours of pay for subsequent changes;
  • A requirement to provide up to four hours of penalty pay for scheduled on-call shifts when the employee is told not to report; and
  • A requirement to offer more work to certain part-timers before hiring additional staff.

The new law imposes the onerous work rules of union shops on all businesses–big and small, profit and nonprofit. This sort of one-size-fits-all approach to employment can drive smaller enterprises out of business.

For instance, imagine a construction firm building a new home. Because of backlogs with the city government, the necessary permits are two weeks behind in being issued, halting construction. A work schedule created two weeks earlier could not have anticipated the delay. No matter: The backlog at the city permitting office means that the construction firm must pay workers who have no work to do. What seems like a tiny backlog to city bureaucrats can turn into a financial disaster for small businesses.

It works the other way around, too. Think of a newly opened restaurant. A week after opening, the local paper publishes glowing review, causing a surge of customers. A work schedule put together two weeks earlier could not have even guessed at the restaurant’s new found popularity. Because of the new law, the restaurant cannot add more staff to accommodate the unexpected new customers. As a result, the restaurant get slammed on Yelp for its slow service and business drops off to a trickle and the restaurant closes within the year.

Even local governments will suffer under such onerous regulation. Consider a city swimming pool faced with a thunderstorm in the middle of July, shutting the pool for the day. A work schedule created two weeks earlier could not have planned on a thunderstorm and the resulting pool closure. The law doesn’t care about that. The last-minute pool closure means that the city must pay the lifeguards, swim instructors, and concession workers even though the pool is not bringing in any money from admission fees (and may need to refund money from cancelled classes). The cost of paying for unscheduled closures means fewer summer programs at the city’s pools.

Proponents of “predictive scheduling” laws claim to be protecting workers from capricious or abusive work schedules. These laws can backfire when “scheduling certainty” the flexibility that many workers desire. For example, recent research surveying 100 restaurant and retail businesses likely affected by Washington, DC’s law found that most employers (73 percent) would offer employees less flexibility to make schedule changes. More than half of the businesses said they would reduce the number of part-time workers. Half of the employers said they would reduce overall employment in their firms. By increasing the cost of using employees, these laws would reduce employment. In addition, they may make working conditions worse by forcing rigid scheduling rules typical of unionized workplaces.

Employment contracts are voluntary contracts between the employer and employee. Good employers who want to keep good employees will give them the scheduling certainty they need. At the same time, good employees who want to work for good employers will entertain the scheduling flexibility needed to keep the employer in business. One-size-fits all laws are the problem, not the solution.