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Is Oregon Good for Business?Veselina Dzhingarova Special to Salem-News.com
Oregon’s recent legalization of marijuana is attracting a new industry and new group of entrepreneurs to the state.
(SALEM, Ore.) - According to reports from the office of the Secretary of State business growth has been fairly stable in Oregon both over the course of 2016 and throughout the past few years.
That’s not surprising since Oregon has several elements that recommend it for business, as well as some less favorable elements.
Although business owners may complain about high fees and high capital gains tax rates, the lack of state sales tax and low corporate tax actually make Oregon very attractive to businesses.
In a recent study by Ernst & Young for the Council on State Taxation, Oregon tied with Connecticut for the lowest effective business tax rate.
Another recent paper, from The Kaplan Group, outlines issues with the way state’s business bankruptcy rates are listed and reveals Oregon to have a very low business bankruptcy rate.
Oregon’s unemployment rate tends to be around the national average and comparable to neighboring states.
So what are some of the less favorable elements for doing business in Oregon?
The state is often cited as having a poor education system, without sufficient funding and a low graduation rate.
Oregon’s transportation system is not ranked highly, which can be a problem for manufacturing jobs. In an interview for Oregon Business earlier this year, Tim Boyle, CEO of Columbia Sportswear, explained that although he had turned down offers to move his headquarters elsewhere, he had built manufacturing facilities outside of the state, in part because of the poor transportation system.
However, thanks to federal assistance, it’s now possible to fly easily and inexpensively from either Pendleton or Medford to Portland, greatly improving the transportation issue.
Although overall business taxes are low, the tax structure is not seen as particularly good for businesses, especially newer businesses. Oregon also does not aggressively court businesses the way other states do.
Texas in particular is seen as being especially good at attracting businesses. Oregon is also seen as not being a particularly good place for attracting venture capital, although that reputation is changing slightly.
Oregon’s close proximity to California, often ranked as one of the worst states in which to do business and a state with a slightly higher business bankruptcy rate than Oregon, also winds up benefiting Oregon.
Tech businesses, as well as small businesses have been moving from California to Oregon. Oregon’s recent legalization of marijuana is attracting a new industry and new group of entrepreneurs to the state.
Outside of business, Oregon’s climate and culture attract both loyalists and detractors. If you love Oregon, you really love Oregon and are unlikely to want to move and business owners rarely have trouble recruiting workers to the state.
The desire to stay local and the general mythos of the state provides a steady workforce.
In short, Oregon is neither the best place in the country to do business, nor the worst, but if you love the state and want to make it your home and your business home, the business climate is certainly attractive enough to keep you.
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