Meet Your Elected Leaders / Service Animals / Small Business Grants
Capitol Day & Taste Oregon
With a record number of new legislators in Salem, in addition to a new Governor and a few agency heads, now's the time to engage in opportunities to meet face to face with these elected leaders and help them understand our unique industry issues. There's a full menu of activities with ORLA and AAHOA's Capitol Day and Taste Oregon events presented by DoorDash in Salem on Tuesday, February 21, 2023. You are encouraged to participate in one or more of these activities with multiple chances to tell your story and discuss issues of importance with our elected leaders. Take a look at the day's schedule and plan to join us for some or all the activities. While these events are free to attend, an RSVP is required.
California FAST Act Update
It was an incredibly busy Fall for ORLA’s colleagues down in California as the state association worked alongside the National Restaurant Association to submit over one million voter signatures to stall the implementation of the FAST Act passed by the state legislature. In short, Californians will get the opportunity to either affirm the decision of their legislature or vote against it in November 2024. Until voters decide, we will not see the FAST Act take effect in California. Expect to see an expensive and hard hitting opposition campaign during the 2024 election season for our neighbors to the south. ORLA’s Government Affairs Committee will be following the issue closely as policy issues in California and Washington tend to find their way to Oregon.
A Miniature Horse Walks into a Bar...
Hospitality industry members have been experiencing more situations with customers walking into restaurants and hotels with "service animals" that may not actually be trained as such. We've reposted our Boiled Down podcast episode on the subject for some good reminders on what questions business owners and employees can legally ask customers. A local employment law attorney helps shed light on the dos and don’ts of service animals in your establishment. For additional resources, including downloadable posters for your place of business, visit ORLA's web page on compliance.
New Small Business Grant Applications
Business Oregon has partnered with the CCD Business Development Corporation to offer $3 million in Statewide Small Business and Microenterprise Grant Assistance (SBMA). This program is funded with federal grant funds from the Oregon Community Development Block Grant program CARES Act funding for communities affected by COVID-19. The application process opens January 23 and closes February 7, 2023. The grant applications are open to microenterprises (5 or fewer employees) or small business (more than five employees) that meet the eligibility requirements.
Oregon Governor’s Conference Registration Open
The 2023 Oregon Governor’s Conference on Tourism will be in Portland April 3-5, 2023. This is your opportunity to join your travel and tourism colleagues at Oregon's largest tourism gathering of the year. Keynote speakers and breakout session details are still to come but will focus on objectives aligned with Travel Oregon's 10-Year Strategic Vision, which includes experiences, equity, economy and environment. For more information and to register, visit Travel Oregon's industry site.
Questions on Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association's advocacy work? Contact Director of Government Affairs, Greg Astley or visit our Advocacy page.
The Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association (ORLA) keeps members informed and educated on important issues impacting the hospitality industry. If you are not yet a member of ORLA, please consider joining the association in order to access the latest industry intelligence for businesses like yours. Visit our Membership page or reach out to an ORLA Regional Representative nearest you.
Oregon is officially gearing up for another Legislative Session in Salem with newly elected legislators hoping to make a difference for their constituents. As is typical with elections, results rarely if ever align on all fronts with your personal preferences. Regardless of the election outcomes this past Fall, it is our job at the association to build effective working relationships with leaders from both parties.
We had a very tangible return on investment recently which most likely stood out to you as a hospitality operator to prove how ORLA advocacy and relationship building efforts can drive bottom line results for your business – House Bill 3389 in the 2021 Legislative Session.
Restaurant and lodging businesses become members of ORLA because they understand the importance of industry representation and intelligence gathering. There are of course other reasons to join ORLA but for me, House Bill 3389 takes the cake. Our hope is the updates below showcase why it is of crucial importance for us to continue to band together to protect, improve, and promote Oregon’s hospitality industry.
What Was House Bill 3389?
House Bill 3389 was collaborative legislation passed in 2021 to provide short- and long-term pandemic tax relief to Oregon employers while protecting the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund. This important bill provided assistance to Oregon employers in several ways:
Combined, the short- and long-term provisions of House Bill 3389 provide significant relief to Oregon employers.
Doing our Part to Protect the Integrity of the Unemployment Insurance Trust Fund
If you and others you know experienced setting up numerous job interviews for open positions only to have no one show up, you’re not alone. ORLA has been actively working with OED to make sure we’re doing our part as employers to share intelligence about job recruitment efforts. The goal is to make sure recipients of unemployment insurance benefits are actively looking for work and willing to accept work while also protecting the solvency of the trust fund which makes unemployment benefits widely available for those who qualify and need assistance during times of professional transition.
The Oregon Employment Department relies on employers to help identify potential fraud and other issues with the Unemployment Insurance system. The current best route for employers to report people who do not show up for work when they are offered a job, turned down an offer of work, or who do not come back after being recalled from a temporary layoff is through the utilization of the following public website at: bit.ly/OEDrefuse.
For other types of suspected fraud, the Oregon Employment Department has another, more general form (so some questions may not apply to all scenarios) at bit.ly/OEDfraud.
Employers can also report suspected UI fraud to the department’s Fraud Hotline at 1.877.668.3204. | Jason Brandt, President & CEO, ORLA
Guest Blog | Adesso Capital
We hear it all the time: Businesses aren’t filing for the Employee Retention Credit (ERC) because of the misconceptions surrounding the program. In fact, less than 20% of eligible businesses have claimed their ERC. Which is why ORLA partnered with Adesso Capital’s team of tax experts to address some common myths about the ERC:
Myth 1: I can’t claim the ERC because I’ve already received PPP funds.
The most frequent falsehood we hear is that retailers, restaurants, and other hospitality businesses can’t receive funds from both the Paycheck Protection Program and the ERC.
This was true at one time. But a change to the CARES Act in December 2020 removed the restriction against applying for both. This vital change went largely under the radar.
Myth 2: My business has grown during the pandemic. Isn’t the ERC only for businesses that are hurting?
Economic injury isn’t the only condition to receive ERC credits. If your business was affected by operating restrictions or supply chain issues, you’re eligible.
Myth 3: My business was deemed an essential business, so I don’t qualify.
Even essential businesses were subject to reduced operating hours, or reduced capacity. Just about every “essential” business (and that definition varies from state to state) was forced to operate under pandemic restrictions at some point, making even essential businesses eligible for the ERC.
Myth 4: I’m not eligible because employees I had in 2020-21 have since quit, were fired, or were replaced.
The Employee Retention Credit is based on the number of employees on the payroll, not specific employees. Turnover in the restaurant business is common but it doesn’t prevent you from claiming what could be tens of thousands of dollars in taxes you’ve already paid.
Myth 5: My business wasn’t shut down during the pandemic.
For much of the relevant ERC time period, businesses weren’t forced to be closed. The ERC covers 2020 but also three quarters of 2021 – a timeframe when most businesses were back to business as usual.
Myth 6: My business’ sales rebounded in the first quarter of 2021, so I’m not eligible.
Thanks to a change to the CARES Act, you have the option to look at one quarter prior. This means Adesso can determine eligibility based on lost revenue in 2020. Also, if your business was subject to a full or partial suspension, you may qualify regardless.
The truth is, filing for the ERC is complicated. We would hate to find out you missed out on receiving up to $26,000 per employee because you got some bad advice. Or because you believed the myths out there about the ERC program.
We know there are tons of things your business could do with the money. Let Adesso take care of the entire refund filing process, from the initial phone call to follow-ups. All you need to do to get started is to schedule a call to see how much you qualify for.