Morning Roundup

Oregon considers gross receipts tax, state greenlights mega-dairy and Wyden, Merkley fight for rural air service.

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Legislators talk more corporate taxes

Lawmakers now think a gross receipts tax is the way to go, the Oregonian reports. Since Measure 97 failed, legislators have been looking for a way to tax businesses and raise new revenue. A gross receipts tax would collect on total receipts not just reported business profits. Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, chair of the Senate Revenue Committee tasked with proposing a new business tax, says even if the state didn’t need to raise new revenue, officials should update the tax code in this way. Northwest neighbor Washington has similar legislation in place. Taxing gross receipts makes it more difficult for companies to avoid paying income tax.

Eastern Oregon mega-dairy receives state approval

The controversial mega-dairy, known as Lost Valley Farm, has earned state approval for its management plan for the 187 million gallons of manure it will produce annually, the Statesman Journal reports. Opponents say the farm sits too close to nearby Threemile Canyon Farms, also a mega-dairy, and would harm the local community. Despite these concerns and more than 4,200 comments on the proposal, regulators announced the necessary permit was approved today. Construction on the dairy is already underway, as owner Greg te Velde had hoped to open in January 2017.

Wyden, Merkley advocate for rural air service

President Trump has eliminated the Essential Air Service line item in his budget proposal, which provides federal subsidies to rural airports. Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley say they will fight to maintain that funding, the East Oregonian reports. The senators say without air service, rural communities will suffer financially. The lack of air service also poses a concern for health care.

State bar creates Cannabis Law Section

The decision is recognition by the Oregon State Bar that cannabis law is its own specialty, the Bend Bulletin reports. The section already has 71 members. Colorado and Michigan are the only other states that recognize the new cannabis specialty.

Consumer advocates press for investigation into solar company sale tactics

The Campaign for Accountability, based in Washington D.C. requested an investigation by Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum after reviewing complaints filed by Oregon consumers, the Oregonian reports. The group says the 58 complaints they examined show a pattern of fraud and abuse by solar companies selling panels to homeowners. The state has yet to conduct a review of the rooftop solar industry.

OB Original Blog: How green really are tall timber buildings?

Our coverage of Portland’s Mass Timber conference week continues, with a recap of a panel discussion on the environmental impacts of cross-laminated timber.

Oregon snowpack at 125% 

But researchers say hold off on celebrating, OPB reports. A warm April could mean the snowpack will melt too quickly — as happened last year. Researchers say wait until May 1 to know if Oregon is positioned well for the summer water supply.