Senator Jeff Kruse - June 21st, 2013


Senator Jeff Kruse
R-Roseburg, District 1

Phone: 503-986-1701    900 Court St. NE, S-211 Salem Oregon 97301
Email:     Website:

 Working Hard For You


JUNE 21, 2013




In February the target date for ending this Session was June 28th and it has become apparent we will not meet that timeline.  The Constitution requires us to be done by July 13th.  At this point I think a mildly optimistic date might be July 3rd.  The two big budget items connected to issues like PERS reform are the K-12 budget and the hospital tax.  The reason the hospital tax is important is not so much the tax itself, but also the additional federal Medicaid dollars it brings which would leave a hole in the Medicaid budget of over one billion dollars if it was not renewed.  Both of these budget bills have been pushed back until next Wednesday to see if a deal can be made in other areas by that time.  I personally have very serious doubts anything will change in the next few days.


One of the issues the Republicans have put on the table is a tax break for small businesses.  Due to the fact small business makes up the majority of the work force and will be a key component in our economic recovery, if it ever happens, we think this would be a smart move.  Unfortunately, the Governor has said he would veto such a proposal.  Keep in mind this is the same Governor who called a Special Session to pass a tax break (single sales factor) last year specifically for Nike, which could hardly be called a small business.  For the record, I was not opposed to the proposal, but I did vote against it.  The reason for my vote was simply a matter of fairness.  As this was an issue related to taxes on exports I thought it should apply to all businesses in the same category.  At the time of the Special Session the Governor said he agreed in principle and would consider a bigger picture solution later.  It is now later and we are doing nothing.


I am starting to receive emails stating “no tax cuts for the wealthy.”  This is a common theme, as Republicans are portrayed as supporting the rich at the expense of the poor.  I would like to take this opportunity to put some of these things into perspective.  Politics is to a large degree a matter of marketing and labeling, and some people are better at it than others.  A good example would be the passage in the Senate this week of House Bill 2225A, which I voted against.  The headline of the press release from the Senate Majority Office states “Senate votes for job creation by extending business expansion program.”  In reality this program, up until now has only benefitted three large businesses in Washington County as one of the requirements for the program is the addition of at least 50 new employees (hardly a program for a startup company).  Based on this bill and this vote, and the lack of majority party support for helping small businesses I would question the accuracy of current party labels.


All Session long we have been advocating for legislation and programs designed to improve the business climate for the small businesses in Oregon as well as measures to attract new companies into our state.  So far our suggestions have received very little if any traction.  Instead we continue to grow the size and cost of government.  When we are told, with an additional two billion dollars already in the budget, we need even more one has to wonder what the priorities really are.


We have maybe two weeks left.  We have been working very hard to try and find some common ground on reforms, but it has mostly been a one sided dialog.  Maybe it is time to go home.




Senator Jeff Kruse









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