Gelser and Close spoke to the Chamber's Governmental Affairs Committee last month and highlighted some of the issues they thought might possibly be addressed by themselves and fellow lawmakers.
Some of the highlights include possible legislation
around handling marijuana dispensaries in Oregon; a jobs bill geared to people who may be on the lower-end of the economic spectrum to help them get a GED and/or a
job; looking at potential transportation/export/import terminals in Oregon to compete and/or offset traffic moving through Tacoma, WA., etc.;
Gelser wants to address youth suicide, which she said is the second leading cause of death among youth in the state, as well as looking at an arguably long-shot potential rail stop in Corvallis that would bring more people here, serve the Oregon State University student population, and provide links to Eugene Airport, and Albany (Gelser is on a leadership council that is addressing this issue);
Separately, the Chamber GAC broached the subject of tax reform, but Gelser said the Legislature deemed it “very intractable,” and difficult to move forward. Close said she is in favor of tackling the sacred cow of eliminating our State Income Tax in favor of a Sales Tax, a move that would put us on a better footing with other states, such as Washington.
However, she noted that it is unlikely that there will be much movement towards the controversial tax issue in a short session that is likely be dominated by budget rebalancing. If you believe the pundits, it's also unlikely that lawmakers will fund Oregon Gov. John Kitzhaber plans to build a new bridge across the Columbia River during the five-week session.