March Message from Board Chair Scott Parrish

Published Thursday, March 7, 2019
by Scott Parrish

OBI members,

A big thanks to everyone who participated in OBI’s 2019 Membership Survey. This new tool will help us develop priorities based on what is important to you and your business.

As promised, OBI randomly selected a winner of the $500 gift certificate to The Allison Inn & Spa. Congratulations to Sandra Rains with Q Pacific Manufacturing Corp in Tualatin! I hope you enjoy a fantastic retreat at the Allison.

We had a good turnout on the survey, with 286 respondents taking the time to fill it out. It’s the first time in recent memory OBI or our predecessor organizations have done a membership survey, so we are excited to hear from you about the issues you care about.

When asked what issues you’re most concerned with, you told us loud and clear that the issues we are spending a lot of time on at the 2019 Legislature are the ones you care about the most. Here is how members ranked the top issues, in order:

  1. Business taxes
  2. Employment regulation
  3. Environmental regulation
  4. Health care
  5. Personal taxes
  6. Transportation
  7. Career and technical education
  8. Community college and higher education
  9. International trade

In the 2019 legislative session, the OBI team is closely following tax bills and bills related to employment regulation. We are working with our members to make sure the  business voice is heard on the cap and trade bill, HB 2020, as the Joint Committee on Carbon Reduction holds public hearings at the Capitol and throughout the state. When it comes to health care, OBI recently submitted testimony on HB 2010, the Medicaid funding bill, which increases hospital assessments and the health insurance premiums tax. We supported the package, which won final passage last week, but we made it clear that this bill was a business tax increase that must be counted as the Legislature looks at increasing other taxes.

The survey also showed that OBI is on track serving its members. Nearly 88 percent of respondents said they were satisfied with our service, and some 89 percent said they would recommend OBI membership to other businesses. I was especially pleased to see that some 88 percent said they plan to renew their memberships.

One very important question was how we can serve our members better. Here is what we heard:

  • Ensure the business perspective is heard in public policy debates through community work and lobbying efforts
  • Provide more information about issues impacting the business community
  • Provide more opportunities for networking and building relationships
  • Provide more professional development opportunities
  • Provide more opportunities for visibility 

We are already working on all of the items on that wish list. I hope you have seen the new newsletters designed to give you more up-to-date information about what is happening in state government. We also are creating more opportunities to get members in front of lawmakers. In fact, OBI Lobby Day was just held just last week.

I am proud of the work we are doing at OBI, but I know there is more we can do. Don’t hesitate to let me know what you are thinking at scottparrish@oregonbusinessindustry.com.

In the meantime, we will keep moving forward. And I am so glad our survey respondents agree that we are making progress on behalf of business in Oregon. One respondent said, “I feel like we’re about to hit our groove … keep at it.” I second that. Together, we will keep working for a thriving and healthy Oregon economy.

Click here to read the survey results.