The Oregon Business Plan congratulates our elected leaders for the remarkable agreement reached this week to strengthen schools and promote business. This afternoon, four business associations – Associated Oregon Industries, Oregon Business Association, Oregon Business Council and the Portland Business Alliance — jointly issued the follow statement:

As representatives of a broad base of Oregon businesses, large and small, we applaud Governor Kitzhaber and the Republican and Democratic legislative leaders for working diligently to arrive at the PERS/revenue plan that has been submitted to the full Legislature for approval at the end of this month. We believe this package, as it has been agreed to by leadership will be a big boost for public education and for businesses.

The proposal would put a big dent in the skyrocketing cost of Oregon’s Public Employee Retirement Plan (PERS). By reducing the state’s unfunded PERS liability by some $4.6 billion, this package will put more teachers in our classrooms, add back school days lost to earlier cutbacks and alleviate the pressure on government entities across Oregon to cut staff and reduce services in order to find the dollars to pay for increasing retirement-related costs. It also reduces the continued upward pressure on taxes to cover costs related to PERS.

We are especially pleased to see that the revenue component of the plan brings much needed tax relief to small businesses across Oregon that file as S-corporations or LLCs. We believe this provision will lead to new business investment and grow much needed jobs in every corner of our state. We would have preferred that the plan refrain from increasing taxes on any segment of a business community that is just now regaining its footing after a long and deep recession, but we recognize that the proposed increase in the C-corporation tax rate is far preferable to other plans that have been discussed, including efforts to shift the state to an unfair and unsustainable system of taxes based on gross revenue rather than net income. We look forward to continue working with the governor and legislative leaders on reframing our tax system so that it encourages investment and job growth rather than penalizing success.

We recognize that this is a package and, while we may not like every aspect of it, we believe on the whole it is good for Oregon and will help us continue to build economic growth.