[From Oregon House Republicans]
STATE UNEMPLOYMENT REMAINS ABOVE NATIONAL AVERAGE;
REPUBLICANS FOCUS ON ECONOMIC STIMULUS, CAPITAL INVESTMENT
SALEM”” The Oregon Employment Department today reported the state’s unemployment rate increased to 6.5 percent in August. While early estimates suggest the rate dipped slightly to 6.4 percent in September, Oregon’s unemployment rate remains above the national level. House Republicans said they remain committed to stimulating the economy, providing relief to working families, and keeping private capital within the state.
“Oregon lost 10,000 jobs in August alone, and our state is losing precious capital that could be reinvested in businesses and job creation,” said House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg). “House Republicans believe the 2009 session must be focused on stimulating the economy, reducing unemployment and giving working families relief from the financial pressures they are facing every day.”
Rep. Hanna said House Republicans will work to keep money flowing through the private economy and enable Oregonians to keep more of what they earn to help pay mortgages and meet basic needs. He said the caucus’ economic agenda differs substantially from what little ideas the Governor and his fellow Democrats have presented.
“The Democrats believe they can reverse their poor economic performance by increasing government spending, raising taxes, and approving pork-barrel projects that would mostly benefit their union supporters,” Rep. Hanna said. “On the other hand, Republicans believe in bringing fairness to Oregon’s income tax system to benefit lower-income workers and increasing the child tax credit to help all families. By putting more money back into Oregonians’ pocketbooks, we will help the scores of businesses whose sales are plummeting during this recession.”
The state reported job losses in several industrial sectors including construction ( 1,000 jobs), trade, transportation, and utilities (-3,600), financial activities (-1,300), and professional and business services (-1,400). Meanwhile, early numbers suggest government added 6,400 jobs in September. Rep. Hanna said the Legislature must help private sector industries recover by reforming Oregon’s capital gains tax rate, among the highest in the nation.
“With the current financial crisis, Oregon needs to keep as much capital within the state as it can,” Rep. Hanna said. “Under the current system, Oregon can’t complete with the dozens of states that have strategically kept their tax rates low to encourage reinvestment. To improve our state’s economy, we must encourage private investments in new construction, manufacturing and business services.”
Rep. Hanna noted that, in light of record state spending, government has consistently outperformed the private sector in job creation. He added, “It’s not surprising that as private businesses suffer, the government is experiencing a boom time. This fact demonstrates that the current Legislature’s priorities are grossly out of order.”