A Powerful Voice on Key Industry Issues
ORLA is dedicated to promoting and protecting the foodservice and lodging industries of Oregon. By advocating for public policies that sustain our industry, and by working on behalf of local businesses, we are the voice of hospitality at the local, state and national levels.
One of the biggest threats to independent businesses in Oregon is the desire by local governments to control private employer-employee relationships. By creating laws that mandate employee benefits within the boundaries of a city or county, businesses face a patchwork of regulations that differ from one location to another, and workplace fairness is compromised. ORLA believes that by enacting a preemption that labor practices are set at the state level, we give businesses stability and offer a better environment for economic growth.
Oregon is one of only seven states nationwide that does not have a tip credit provision, which allows employers to consider tips as wages for the purpose of minimum wage, and yet Oregon has the second highest minimum wage in the country. The IRS requires employees to report all tips to employers because tips are taxable as income and federal law requires employers to pay unemployment and social security taxes on tips reported to them, thereby treating tips as wages. Not considering these same tips as wages for the purpose of minimum wage is inconsistent and unfair.
Most, if not all, tourism funding dollars come from lodging taxes in Oregon. These dollars promote our state and attract visitors and businesses. ORLA works as a leader on behalf of our industry to promote tourism but also stands strong to make sure lodging taxes are directed towards these efforts, and are not diverted away from attracting people and commerce to our state.
Concerns have been raised over third-party internet platforms (i.e., Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway) that connect renters with travelers. The uneasiness stems from non-compliant vacation home rentals advertising on these websites without regard for licensing, state tax regulations and consumer safety. ORLA supports legislation that would require short term rental properties to register with their local taxing authority, and become licensed if their jurisdiction requires it, before they are marketed through online exchange sites. Once all vacation rentals operate by the same set of rules, consumers will be better protected, communities will benefit and businesses will compete on a level playing field.
Comprehensive immigration reform must include all aspects of immigration issues – border security, worker supply and employee verification – which means that Congress is the only political body which can actually solve the immigration problem. State and local governments only make a solution more complex by trying to pass their own laws. ORLA is opposed to random, individual pieces of immigration reform and supports Congress working together on a national level to enact comprehensive reform.
ORLA is the only major trade association in the state that has defended lottery retailers since the introduction of video lottery in Oregon. ORLA defends commission rates and protects against extreme regulatory attacks, such as increased casino expansions off tribal reservations. ORLA is supportive of gaming as entertainment, adjunct to the hospitality industry.
Oregon’s minimum wage is automatically increased every year. Oregon continues to have unemployment rates above the national average. ORLA believes there should be other factors considered before the wage is increased like unemployment. Within the hospitality industry, the only employees considered “minimum wage employees” are entry-level employees and tipped employees making – with tips – well over the minimum wage. ORLA supports efforts to remove the annual indexing until the economy stabilizes and is opposed to any increases in the minimum wage that do not take into consideration the effects on entry-level or tipped employees.