Bend Business Roundup 5-3-19

Bend Business Roundup 5-3-19

Happy Friday,

Here’s some stuff you might like.

Business: 40,000 businesses that do more than $1 million in sales in Oregon will be subject to a new .57% tax on sales, under a $2 billion tax measure passed by the Oregon House this week (HB 3427). The bill provides: “A corporate activity tax is imposed on each person with taxable commercial activity for the privilege of doing business in this state.” (See Section 63). Couple things about just this sentence: (1) This isn’t really a corporate activity tax; it’s a personactivity tax, as the definition of “person” includes, well, persons and every business entity type you can imagine, from partnerships to limited liability companies to clubs. (See Section 58(15)); (2) The idea of our state government granting individuals and free associations of individuals, not just corporations and other government-created entities, the privilege of doing business in Oregon just has so much wrong with it I don’t even know where to start.

Law: Businesses will not be able to avoid the tax by subdividing their operations into different entities that each do less than $1 million in sales. HB 3427 requires people who jointly own 50% or more of a group of businesses to file as one corporate taxpayer for the purpose of complying with the bill. (See section 60).

Politics: Stop “bulging classrooms,” “4-day school weeks,” and make “corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share.” Arguments made this week for HB 3427? Nah, they’re arguments made by Oregon’s teacher union back in 2010 in support of Measures 66 and 67. Those measures passed, increasing personal income and corporate tax rates. Today, with those higher rates still in place and in spite of years of record state revenues, we are hearing the same arguments about why we need to increase taxes even more in order to save schools. The truth is, PERS is robbing schools and everything else our state and local governments do. It will also gobble up a lot of the HB 3427 revenue. Prediction: even if HB 3427 passes, and PERS isn’t fixed, we will be hearing the same arguments about another desperately needed tax hike soon enough.

Et cetera: Enough about taxes. Let’s talk about Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh, shall we? My wife and I (more my wife than I) just finished watching the Netflix documentary “Wild Wild Country,” which follows Rajneesh’s establishment in the early 1980s of a spiritual commune in and near the eastern Oregon city of Antelope. The contrast of cultures between a conservative, rural community and Rajneesh’s free-love, gun-wielding (well, maybe that part doesn’t contrast a whole lot), warm-tone-clothes wearing followers is fascinating to watch, even if like me you remember when this was all going down.

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Have a great weekend!

Jeff started EagerLaw PC to help Oregon entrepreneurs succeed in business. Jeff worked in Washington, D.C. for Oregon Congressman Greg Walden, served as Mayor of the City of Bend, and has been practicing law in Oregon for over a decade. Jeff believes strongly in entrepreneurship and enjoys making the legal side of business transparent and easy for his clients.

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