Early March Legislative Update
In the frenzy to move their agenda, the Democrat controlled 2019 Legislature passed Rent Control Legislation, the first state to pass a statewide rent control law. It went through the House and Senate like a freight train. I voted no on this bill. Rent control may sound good on the surface but the negative fallout is extensive. We have an affordable housing problem in Oregon and many landlords have contacted me with serious concerns about the financial feasibility of continuing to own rental property. Without sufficient rental property and affordable new home construction we will only increase the number of homeless families.
My chief legislative priorities for the 2019 Session are SB 500 to help disabled Veterans and SB 268 to incentivize pet adoptions. I introduced both of these bills in the 2018 Legislative Session, but they failed to pass. I believe they are important enough to make adjustments to and re-introduce them this session.
Helping disabled Veterans:
SB 500 would increase the amount of the current property tax deduction for 40% and 60% disabled Veterans and add a new category for 100% disabled. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development in a 2018 report, 18 out of every 10,000 Veterans were homeless. In Oregon 43 out of 10,000 Veterans are homeless. Clearly Oregon has a significant problem.
The current property tax deduction has fallen way behind for these folks because housing values have increased by 20% but the deduction has basically stayed the same.
Men and women who have fought in wars and been injured to defend our freedoms, should never have to come back to the stress of losing their home nor should those who have lost their spouses in the war.
See our Presentation HERE:
Incentivizing Pet Adoptions:
SB 268 would allow a $200 subtraction from Oregon income taxes for adopting a shelter pet. We are referring to this as the “Adopted Pet Jobs Bill” in keeping with all the other proposed “jobs bills” being discussed this session. When pets are adopted into families it not only brings much joy to the family, but it also brings increased jobs and income to businesses in our community that support our pets.
Our shelters are full and too many animals are euthanized on a daily basis. It currently costs between $200 and $600 to adopt a pet. SB 268 may make the difference for those who would like to adopt a shelter pet but the cost of adoption is too difficult. Knowing they will be able to claim the $200 tax subtraction could help with their decision. It is a win – win ---decreases costs to the shelters to care for the animals, puts money into local communities and makes very positive changes for an animal and their adopted family forever.
See my presentation HERE:
One other bill you have heard me expound on in the past two legislative sessions is now HB 2020 – Cap and Trade — or the Gas and Energy Tax.
Now that Democrats have a super majority in the Legislature they are moving quickly to pass a Cap and Trade Bill. While Cap and Trade will have little to no impact on reducing global carbon emissions it also will not reverse the effects of climate change in Oregon. The bill will generate revenue that goes into different funding piles controlled by unelected bureaucrats appointed by the executive branch instead of being controlled in a transparent fashion by your elected representatives. This potentially puts hundreds of millions of dollars in the hands of the politically well-connected to allocate as they see fit. We will all see higher gas and utility prices as well as food and services increases. Some of the funding that is constitutionally dedicated to roads and bridges will be diverted and funneled off into other unknowns and should be legally challenged. I continue to oppose Cap and Trade because I believe it has little to no real environmental value but instead transitions this state to an economic system that redistributes wealth at the expense of Oregonians pocketbooks.
Education is still a top priority for me so look for my next Newsletter with my Education Funding bills and why Education funding should be on the top of the list when setting the State Budget.
Until then, thanks for reading and as always, I appreciate the opportunity to serve as your State Senator.
Senator Alan Olsen
Senate District 20
Capitol Phone: 503-986-1720
District Phone: 503-266-4599
Capitol Address: 900 Court St NE, S-425, Salem, OR 97301
District Address: 675 Northwest 2nd St., Canby, OR 97013
Web site: http://www.oregonlegislature.gov/olsen
Senator Olsen's Committees:
Chair of Senate Committee On Veterans & Emergency Preparedness
Vice Chair of Senate Committee Environment & Natural Resources
Senate Committee On Business & General Government
Joint Committee On Carbon Reduction