House Republicans offer agenda for Special Session

House republicans to focus on jobs, health care, government accountability in February
By Oregon House Republicans,

SALEM””House Republicans will introduce legislation in February to put Oregonians back to work, make health care more affordable, and increase accountability in state government. House Republican Leader Bruce Hanna (R-Roseburg) said the Legislature must refocus on the state’s struggling economy after a divisive special election. “The referenda and special election show that many Oregonians are frustrated with the state’s direction,” Rep. Hanna said. “With the Legislature convening on Monday, it’s time for us to focus on what matters most- putting Oregonians back to work.”

To create jobs, House Republicans will re-introduce the Main Street Incentive plan to encourage businesses and homeowners to immediately invest in their properties through a tax credit. Other measures include providing a job creation tax credit to businesses that create new jobs, and helping small businesses retain employees by allowing them to defer state taxes until the economy improves.

To promote job creation in rural Oregon, House Republicans will propose extending eligibility for qualifying small businesses operating in enterprise zones, and providing incentives for the production and transportation of biomass from Oregon’s forests.

“Our agenda to improve Oregon’s economy will create jobs and help small businesses retain the employees they have,” said Rep. Kevin Cameron (R-Salem). “We will return to the Capitol with a renewed commitment to helping people get through this recession and putting Oregon back on the right track.”

House Republicans will also focus on making health care more affordable by allowing individuals and families who purchase their own health insurance to deduct the costs of their premium from their overall tax liability. They will also seek to repeal the costly new tax on health care premiums that has already contributed to higher health care costs.

“House Republicans support health care reforms that contain costs for individuals, families and small businesses,” said Rep. Ron Maurer (R-Grants Pass). “As an alternative to increasing government bureaucracy, we will pursue common-sense health care reforms that Oregonians can afford.”

House Republicans will also propose ethics, spending and budget reforms to hold state legislators and government accountable. These measures include requiring legislators to wait before they can take high-paying positions in state agencies, controlling the growth of state spending through a new limit on expenditures, and requiring the Legislature to monitor agency cash balance and redirect excess funds to more urgent priorities in the budget.

“The Legislature can restore its credibility by changing the way it does business,” Rep. Hanna said. “House Republicans will continue to offer a new approach to budgeting that prioritizes spending and requires government to live within its means.”