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Legislature’s session ends early

SALEM, Oregon – The Oregon Legislature ended its 2018 session Saturday, a week and a day before the deadline. The short session is not supposed to produce major policy bills, but bills dealing with gun control, an attempt to curb opioid abuse, and a fix to prevent losses to the state from the federal tax overhaul did make it through.

A cap on greenhouse gas emissions was among the measures that failed. Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick (D-Portland) said that was one of her biggest disappointments. Senate President Peter Courtney said it will be back. Capping carbon emissions will be a priority for the 2019 legislative session, he said.

As for that tax fix, some business owners in Oregon will not get a tax break on their state taxes, because they will get it on their federal tax filings. The measure applies to LLCs, S-corporations, and sole proprietorships. Supporters estimate if the fix wasn’t made, it would cost the state almost $200 million.

Republican Rep. Julie Parrish says it hurts business owners.

“These are the same people who we’re asking to pay new healthcare taxes,” she said. “They’re the same people who we’re asking to pay new business fees.”

Democratic Rep. Phil Barnhardt says the people that will feel the biggest negative impact from the measure are wealthy business owners.

The bulk of pass-through income flows to high-income households,” he said. “They would get a larger tax break on every dollar of pass-through income.”

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