February’s Whirlwind Legislative Session

The short February legislative session was a whirlwind of activity. Neighborhood Partnerships was active in the session in partnership with the Housing Alliance as well as in support of the issue priorities we identified with our partners in Oregon Thrives.

The Housing Alliance members had a very short list of priorities going into the session, and all made it successfully through session. One is still awaiting a signature by the Governor.

  • SB 1013 protects tenants living in foreclosed properties. This bill cleared up some technical issues in the bill passed in 2009.
  • SB 1015 extends the sunset date on a statute enabling local governments to provide property tax exemptions to non-profit owned multi-family affordable housing, and provides clearer legal authority for some existing property tax exemptions in Multnomah County.
  • HB 3640, once it is signed by the Governor, will provide personal property tax relief to owners of manufactured homes valued at less than $12,500 in the four largest counties in the state—Multnomah, Washington, Lane, and Clackamas.

Oregon Thrives allies worked hard to build momentum for an expansion of Oregon’s Earned Income Tax Credit, or EITC. Janet Byrd of NP presented testimony in support of the expansion, which would put money back into the budgets of low income working households statewide, and help them better weather financial stresses. Janet also testified in support of the Oregon Hunger Task Force’s new plan to end hunger in five years.  That report calls out financial asset building, among other strategies, as a key policy to end hunger.

The legislative focus will turn now to 2011. Candidates have all filed now for state and local races, and are gearing up for the primary election on May 18, 2010. Be sure to ask your legislative candidates what they plan to do to create opportunity in Oregon!