Oregon governor unveils 2017-2019 budget, President Obama appeals overtime rule injunction and OHA proposes plan to prevent HIV infection.
1. Gov. Kate Brown releases budget, addresses $1.7 billion shortfall
Brown’s $20.6 billion budget proposal included several tactics to reduce costs and increase revenue, OPB reports. The line items include closing a loophole that allows businesses to avoid corporate income taxes, increasing taxes on hospitals and insurance companies, as well as cigarette and liquor tax increases. The budget also proposes eliminating budget increases for state universities.
Something the budget doesn’t address is an extension to the Residential Energy Tax Credit, the Portland Business Journal reports. The credit is set to sunset at the end of 2017. Allowing the credit and other clean energy initiatives to sunset provided a 78% decrease in the Department of Energy’s budget for 2017-2019.
2. Obama appeals block of overtime rule
A federal judge approved an injunction stopping the overtime eligibility rule on Nov. 22. That rule, which required overtime pay for employees who worked more than 40 hours a week and earn less than $47,476 a year, was set to go into effect Dec. 1. The Obama administration appealed the injunction, NPR reports.
3. Brown says Medicaid waiver is a priority
Oregon’s governor says securing a federal Medicaid waiver, worth $1.25 billion over five years, is a high priority before the President-elect takes office, according to the Statesman Journal. Oregon has utilized these waivers to boost membership in the state’s coordinated care organizations. Oregon has had a federal waiver since 1994 when the Oregon Health Plan was introduced.
4. Oregon proposes plan to stop HIV infections by 2021
The Oregon Health Authority proposed three strategies to curb new HIV infections, OPB reports. The first is testing. Only 35% of Oregonians know their HIV status. The remaining strategies focus on prevention: supplying high risk individuals with a pill to stop transmission and treatment of individuals who are already infected. The OHA is applying for grants to fund additional costs associated with the plan.
5. Nike files 64 patents in shift toward digital tech
Two dozen of the patents filed Thursday are for new technology, the Portland Business Journal reports. Several others are for activity monitoring devices and one to stream music for athletes. The burst of filings doesn’t mean consumers should expect 64 new devices from Nike, but they do suggest that the athletic company is pushing for the next big thing to stay competitive.
6. Howard Schultz steps down as Starbucks’ CEO, again
Schultz will trade his position for that of executive chairman to focus on the company’s Reserve line and social initiatives, according to Slate. This isn’t the first time Schultz stepped down as CEO. He left the position originally in 2000 and returned in 2008. Schultz will be replaced by Kevin Johnson, Starbucks’ president and COO, ON April 3.
7. The future is no more uncertain than the present
OB guest blogger Jason Norris says clarity in 2017 is an elusive goal.