OTA Dispatch Issue 1, 2022

4 Oregon Trucking Associations, Inc. Oregon Truck Dispatch FROM THE PRESIDENT Jana Jarvis OTA President/CEO AS I WRITE this, we are well into the second week of our short, five-week legislative session for 2022 and it is clear to me that the need for member involvement is more important than ever. Logical, reasonable, real-world voices need to be heard by those tasked with deciding the future of Oregon’s businesses and residents. This year’s proposals, only limited by the number of bills that legislators were allowed to introduce, cover far-ranging topics and could result in severe impacts on businesses of all kinds. To put it bluntly, the ways Oregon businesses operate and how residents live are under attack. While most of us continue to feel the pinch of growing inflation and increased costs on everything from fuel to food, it is not a budget shortfall constraining this session’s pursuits. In fact, Oregon is flush with new money, much of it coming from the federal government in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Oregon has been unable to spend it quickly enough and in the right places, so a variety of proposals are aimed at establishing program parameters. Income tax revenue from both individuals and businesses is at record levels despite the struggles to find and retain employees. The forecast released this week confirms that Oregon’s financial picture is healthy—at least for today. But clouds are emerging on the horizon that drive the debate about how to spend, or if to spend, these additional dollars. Think of a newly drafted NFL player who spends his windfall on cars, houses, and parties only to be permanently sidelined with an injury his first time on the field. His revenue stream is now gone with nothing to fall back on. That’s the game that Oregon is currently playing. The news that Intel is driving their new investment to Ohio rather than Oregon was a long-needed wake-up call for our top state leaders. They have now, after the fact, formed a task force to discover why they lost out and what they can do. Many of us who were paying attention to the direction the state is taking already figured out the problem. After spending the last year and a half on the Department of Land Conservation and Development’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Committee, it is easy to see that one of Oregon’s biggest problems is the inflexible nature of our land-use system. There simply are not parcels of land big enough to attract major investment. On top of that, the GHG task force is recommending squeezing most new development into their “climate friendly areas” which will continue to push housing needs into apartments rather than single family dwellings. It will also limit the size and number of roads to service these areas. This is not an attractive prospect for any company looking to invest in and grow a business, not to mention for those of us forced to live inside this very restrictive, overly designed box. This legislative session sees policy proposals that would mandate overtime for seasonal farmworkers in a very prescriptive manner; direct the state to insist that truck manufacturers warranty biodiesel blends at increasingly higher levels for their purchases; ban petroleum diesel to encourage a transition to renewable diesel; expand workers’ compensation liability protections for employees; change the terms of franchise agreements; and extend the protection against mandatory overtime to the manufacturing sector without a two week notice. Very little being considered would help the business community as it recovers from the challenges of the last two years. With one party control, this has become a very one-sided conversation. I don’t want to be an alarmist, but I hope that these policy proposals, along with a number occurring outside the legislature’s purview, cause a visceral reaction. But, how can we best respond to policymakers who don’t understand, or don’t want to understand the challenges our industry has been facing? We talk a lot about elected officials not understanding business needs—but how do we help them make better decisions? What action can we take? There is simply no other way than getting involved! Until you take that first step, to decide you have the right, and the obligation, to be heard, that may seem like a fairly nebulous concept. So, what does getting involved look like for OTA members? “Complaining about a problemwithout posing a solution is called whining.” –Theodore Roosevelt Oregon at the Crossroads