Rep. Walden, Sen. Wyden diverge on ACA replacement, Oregon considers reversing gigabit tax break and PPS to seek $790 million bond.
ACA replacement revealed yesterday
Rep. Greg Walden, who has been leading the Republican charge to replace the Affordable Care Act, said the new legislation will help low-income residents and repair the state insurance market, OPB reports. One feature of the plan is capping state Medicaid funds, which Sen. Ron Wyden said will end Medicaid “as we know it.” The proposal, known as the American Health Care Act, also provides a tax credit for purchasing health insurance and puts a focus on health savings accounts.
Oregon might rescind gigabit tax break
Lawmakers voted to approve a tax break for gigabit service providers two years ago, when Google was planning to bring Fiber to Portland. Now that Google has backed out, lawmakers want to walk back their policy, the Oregonian reports. The potential reversal is controversial, however. Some tech and telecom companies say they invested in their networks with the knowlegde they too could benefit from the tax break.
PPS announces $790 million bond
Portland Public Schools delayed its ask from the November ballot but voted to push forward on the May ballot, the Portland Tribune reports. The bond would rebuild Lincoln High School and Kellogg Middle School, and renovate Benson Polytechnic and Madison High Schools. This bond, which follows a $484 million 2012 bond, continues the district’s plan to upgrade its 90 schools. In addition to renovations, about $150 million of the May bond will fund safety and health concerns at schools throughout the district. If approved, the bond will cost an average of 68 cents per $1,000 of assessed value for the next 30 years.
State audit questions ODOT accountability methods
The Oregon Department of Transportation could save about $400 million per year in construction costs by better monitoring of contractor bids, the Statesman Journal reports. The finding by the Secretary of State Audits division cites “unbalanced bid items” that ODOT does not fully track. The transportation agency is required by law to award construction contracts for roads, bridges and other projects to the lowest bidder but does not effectively watchdog cost overruns, according to the audit. ODOT officials dispute the findings saying the audit methods are flawed.
OB original blog: Moovel CEO talks urban mobility at open house
New $3.5 million digs for urban mobility company Moovel spotlight transportation alternatives and smart technology as congestion relief.
Portland housing market shifts toward ADUs
As housing costs rise, permit seekers are shifting toward accessory dwelling units rather than single-family homes, the Portland Tribune reports. In 2016, 615 permits were issued for ADUs, almost catching up to single family permits at 867. Ten years ago, Portland issued 30 times as many regular home permits than permits for ADUs.