Linn County Commissioners Will Tucker and John Lindsey have sent a letter to Gov. Kate Brown with a list of 14 recommendations about how the state can help businesses weather the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Board Chairman Roger Nyquist did not sign the letter, which is similar to others sent by other county commissions across the state.
Tucker said he and Lindsey drafted the letter as a way of clearing up some of the confusion surrounding the governor’s executive orders.
“We came up with many of the points in the letter, but we also used some found in letters from other counties,” Tucker said. “I have been able to listen in on conference calls with the governor, but have been unable to actually ask questions. This is one way we can communicate our concerns.”
Nyquist said he didn’t sign the letter because “I don’t believe there is anything in the letter the state will take us up on. I don’t want to make a representation to our small businesses that help is coming from the state's direction.”
On Tuesday, Nyquist directed Phil Warnock, community and economic development director, to make sure the Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments is prepared to help small business owners who apply for assistance. Warnock said the COG typically works with dozens of small business owners annually.
Nyquist advised him to prepare to deal with a thousand or more, but he said later that it appears the federal government is going to have businesses work directly with the Small Business Administration.
The commissioners’ requests included:
• Immediately distribute the $1.7 billion in kicker money to those who haven’t already filed their taxes and/or received it.
• Set up a small business crisis hotline to streamline available relief.
• Divert the 2019 corporate kicker money into the Unemployment Insurance Fund to help Oregonians get more immediate relief from job loss.
• Delay corporate activity tax for the first and second quarters if needed.
• Suspend payroll taxes for lost revenue and cancellations to restaurants and lodging facilities that are in crisis.
• Authorize the extension of mandatory tax filing deadlines in keeping with President Trump's 90-day extension.
• Buy back all food inventories from schools and restaurants and distribute to food banks and critical community populations.
• Ensure that our trucking and transportation industries are not impacted so they can continue to supply communities with vital goods.
• Offer tax credits for businesses seeking to retain jobs; offer paid time off and encourage telecommuting.
• Suspend cable internet fees.
• Suspend manufacturing restrictions.
• Reverse the $5 million recently allocated to the cap-and-trade tax.
• Direct the Department of Agriculture to work with the agriculture industry and processors to ensure food supply.
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