Legislature Inks Special Tax Deal With Nike

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In case you missed the news on Friday, the Oregon legislature met for a special one-day session and signed off on the governor's special tax deal that lets him write tax agreements with expanding companies, namely Nike.

The legislature secured some tweaks to the bill that East Portland Representative Jefferson Smith (back for one last vote!) spelled out on Facebook. Here's the abridged version of how he explained the changes:

1) Tax deal sunset is down to one year, from ten. This means the issue will come up during the full session to see if this benefit will be available.

2) The tax agreement with companies will last 30 years instead of 40 years. The risk is that a recipient of the “lock in” could do 5 years worth of job commitment, but keep the benefit for up to 30 years.

3) Job Standards: The qualifying jobs can’t just be from acquiring an Oregon subsidiary. The $150 million investment requirement needs to be bricks & mortar, not just from depreciation or intellectual property.

4) Clawback: If the jobs and investment benefits are not fulfilled, the recipient will need to pay back an amount equal to the tax benefit.

5) Recipient (Nike) will report to the legislature on the progress of the contracts, and that report will include the jobs numbers. This has not much teeth, but is a nod towards reporting and check and balances.

6) Double-dipping: It takes a step backward, at Intel’s request, by removing the prohibition of granting both this deal and SIP (a big tax deal that is very important to Intel, a huge driver of the Oregon economy).

You can read the full text of the tax deal bill (pdf), too, though legislative language is difficult to decipher.

Representative Smith was one of only five House members to vote against the bill. Northeast Portland Representative Lew Frederick wrote a BlueOregon blog post explaining why he voted no.

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