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Special Session Press Conference Announcing Economic Impact Investment Act


Location: Unknown

Good morning and thanks for coming. I'm pleased to be joined by Ryan Deckert, with the Oregon Business Association, Duncan Wyse with the Oregon Business Council, John Mohlis with the Oregon State Building and Construction Trades Council and Tom Chamberlain with the AFL-CIO.

Pursuant to Section 12, Article V of the Oregon Constitution, I'm exercising my authority to call the Legislative Assembly to convene in special session on December 17, 2012, at 9:00 a.m.

It is not a decision I make lightly. We have an extraordinary opportunity to boost Oregon's economy and deliver on our strategy to attract and retain companies that create jobs and boost per capita income. It deserves immediate attention from the Legislature.

With legislative action a week from today, Oregon can secure a commitment for high wage jobs and hundreds of millions of dollars of new private investment in the next five years.

Nike is ready to commit to a significant expansion of its Oregon operations. That's great news for Oregon.

Nike's employment in Oregon has grown 60 percent since 2007 with an average wage of $101,000, about double state and regional averages. A recent analysis by AECOM, a global professional services firm, estimates the potential economic impact of the expansion to be more than $2 billion a year and more than 12,000 jobs by 2020 (direct, indirect and induced) by 2020. Construction alone accounting for about $440 million and more than 2,900 jobs.

That's a huge win for Oregon. The company is seeking an assurance the state won't change tax rules after they make this new investment. It's an easy call and a perfect fit with our strategy to attract and retain companies that create jobs and boost per capita income.

To secure the commitment and create a new economic development tool, I'll be bringing the Legislature the Economic Impact Investment Act for immediate consideration. It allows me to enter into an agreement with any company committing to a minimum of 500 jobs and $150 million in capital investment over five years.

The legislation is needed to provide businesses with certainty that when they make a major investment -- involving significant capital and jobs -- that the current method of business income taxation can be relied on for a negotiated period of time.

For a state like Oregon, with serious budget constraints, this is a powerful new economic development tool that does not require additional state revenue to implement and likely will have a significant positive revenue impact due to the new jobs created.

So why now? Why a special session? Nike is a home-grown company, and I have no interest in getting into a bidding war with other states about its future expansion. The company is prepared to sign an agreement right now to expand in Oregon -- committing to long term investment and job creation -- and we should take advantage of the opportunity this presents.

Getting Oregonians to work has been and remains my top priority. Private sector job growth is going to drive Oregon's economic recovery, but state government has an important role to play in helping create a business climate to accelerate that growth.

I couldn't be happier we have an opportunity to secure exactly the type of high wage jobs and investment that can help boost our per capita income, and I'm convinced there will be others. The Economic Impact Investment Act is a tool we need to give companies more certainty and secure a more prosperous future for Oregonians.

I have consulted with Democratic and Republican leadership in both chambers about the opportunity and the need for legislation. The bill is being finalized and committee hearings could begin this week. I'm confident the Legislature will act aggressively to help Oregon secure these jobs by acting on this legislation on Friday.

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