Local Lodging Tax Watchdog Work / The Fate of RRF / Workforce Storytelling / 77% of the Way
Yesterday, the House of Representatives approved a bill to replenish the Restaurant Revitalization Fund (RRF). Details on what to expect in DC as well as other updates from the week are below. Don’t forget to sign up and support our largest ORLAPAC fundraiser of the year, One Big Night. If you haven’t already, register to attend and/or consider donating an auction package and help us make a difference in the upcoming election cycle in support of our industry recovery efforts.
Local Lodging Tax Watchdog Work
ORLA’s successful win in court at both the Circuit Court and Oregon Court of Appeals level has helped usher in a new chapter of relevance for the association in ramping up our watchdog role for our lodging members and the broader tourism industry. As a reminder, ORLA won on all counts against the City of Bend which helped cement our legal standing in holding local governments accountable for how they expend local lodging tax dollars even though ORLA itself does not collect local lodging taxes directly. With the help of legal counsel, ORLA is actively seeking more transparency in the Cities of Gladstone, Gresham, Cannon Beach, and Albany. Watch ORLA's explanatory video as a refresher on how local lodging taxes are to be spent. This video has proven to be a helpful resource to help educate newly appointed local elected leaders or city administrative staff so please share with your contacts whenever helpful.
The Fate of RRF Replenishment
As anticipated, the U.S House of Representatives passed H.R. 3807 - replenishment of the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. The challenge of getting replenishment over the finish line continues to be in the Senate. On Tuesday, Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) introduced The Small Business COVID Relief Act of 2022 (SBCRA) (S. 4008). The SBCRA would allocate $40 billion for RRF replenishment and $8 billion for other small businesses impacted by COVID. It would partially offset (pay for) the $48 billion through $5 billion in unspent Payroll Protection Program funds. In the interim, we will encourage Senate Republicans and Democrats to reach an agreement on replenishing the RRF. The largest hurdle remains overcoming vast differences between the parties on whether the spending must be paid for, and how. If you haven't already, tell Senators to replenish the RRF. A special thanks to a contingent of ORLA current and past board members for joining ORLA President & CEO Jason Brandt and ORLA Director of Government Affairs Greg Astley at the National Restaurant Association Public Affairs Conference coming up at the end of this month in Washington D.C. RRF, as well as several other key issues will be a part of our discussions as we meet with lawmakers.
We have a big challenge at our doorstep which revolves around reclaiming the narrative around jobs and careers in the hospitality industry. There are incredible stories all around us about the positive and lasting impact hospitality jobs have for Oregonians from all backgrounds. The Spring edition of the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association magazine focuses in on the importance of mentors and the opportunities we all have to do more in sharing the opportunities in our industry with both high school and community college students. On page 24 is our Industry Champions article, The Essential Role Of Industry Mentors For High School Culinary Classrooms, where four of our ProStart mentors were interviewed. They each had great stories to tell, worthy of a broader share than just in print, so we repurposed the article as a blog post as well.
77% of the Way Back
The hardest hit sector, accommodation and food services, has regained 77% of the many jobs lost in the initial COVID crisis. In addition, the following article is featured on the Oregon Employment Department’s website regarding youth employment trends in our industry. It’s worth a read to learn about our history and our efforts to regain traction in employing high school youth over the course of the past decade.
Oregon OSHA Fixes Workforce Housing Caps
ORLA has been advocating for our hospitality businesses who provide housing for workers as a benefit of employment. This predominately impacts our resort members who leverage visas and provide work experience to citizens from other countries with those opportunities ramping up in the Spring and Summer seasons. Thankfully Oregon OSHA has answered the call to repeal the Covid rule that capped the amount of workers we were allowed to house in each dwelling unit due to concern over Covid spread. This will greatly assist members in controlling costs associated with the number of vacation homes/dwelling units that must be rented out for the purposes of workforce housing.
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