By

Representative Rob Nosse

The election and what comes next

Wow. What a difference two years makes.

I still remember Election Night in 2016: leaving a party a little hopeful only to arrive home and turn on my radio to find that Hilary Clinton had conceded. I was pretty gloomy when President Trump was inaugurated into office. While I can’t say I’ve fully shaken that feeling, last month’s election has me feeling more optimistic about the future of our country and our democracy.

At the federal level, Democrats retook the House of Representatives. Finally, there is a body that will act as a check against the worst of the President’s agenda. I was happy to get re-elected and even happier that our Governor was re-elected. We beat back some terrible ballot measures, and we now have a Democratic supermajority in both chambers of the State Legislature. Now it is time to get to work.

Here are some of my priorities for the upcoming 2019 legislative session in Salem.

Clean Energy Jobs, formerly Cap and Invest – Ideally, the Federal government would enact a carbon tax creating an economic incentive to stop using fossil fuels and raise money to pay for the needed investments in green energy. For the moment that is not going to happen. Doing something here locally where we team up with California and Canadian Provinces and Northeastern States to reduce carbon emissions is the next best thing.

Right to Repair – Many of us have dealt with the frustration of damaging a smart phone and having to buy a new one. The ability to repair our smart phones should be an option. Unfortunately large corporations keep their repair guides strictly internal, so only that company can fix your device, forcing you to by a new one. This used to be a practice with cars as well, but now any mechanic can pull up the necessary information needed to fix your vehicle. It should be the same for our electronic devices.

Reforming the Kicker – I know this one will have its detractors. Some of us really like getting that extra tax revenue returned, but the Kicker is not good fiscal or good tax policy. It requires the state to guess our tax revenues for two years out, within 2% accuracy. Anything above that must be returned.

For most of us the refund is not that significant and for those for whom it is, they are often wealthy enough, and do not need the additional tax revenue returned to them.  I would like to put that extra revenue in our state’s rainy day fund instead. That way we aren’t caught flat-footed the next time the economy dips and we can avoid the kinds of cuts to schools and healthcare programs we had to make during the Great Recession.

Corporate tax reform – Oregon still has among the lowest corporate tax rate in the nation. Addressing this problem is something I’ve worked on since I got elected to office. We have to use our majorities to get corporations to pay their fair share of taxes so we can invest in schools and important state programs.

Prescription drug costs – Doing something to lower the cost of prescription drugs has been a passion of mine since I was first elected. Last session we made progress on price transparency, but I know we can do more. I’m looking at legislation that could reduce the number of times a company can increase their price in a year, and another bill that would allow us to import drugs from Canada so they could then be sold here in Oregon at lower prices.

Housing – Affordable housing in our part of the world continues to be an issue. A one size fits all solution is not likely, but the very least we could do is remove the prohibition on local governments from enacting rent stabilization.

There are other issues I’ll be working on, including making it easier to vote, reduce the expense of the criminal justice system, giving Portland the ability to lower street speeds on major roads (not just residential ones) and others, but I only get so many words per column.

Stay tuned and watch for a town hall in January and other opportunities to connect during the session. You can always call my office at 503.986.1442 or e-mail me at rep.robnosse@oregonlegislature.gov.