HB 2058 agriculture overtime award OPPOSE

HB 2058 VOTE: NO

Email House Legislators for floor vote

In CommitteeHouse Floor  
Status (overview) of bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Measures/Overview/HB2058
Committee assigned to bill: https://olis.oregonlegislature.gov/liz/2023R1/Committees/JWM/Overview

This bill requires Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD) to administer a repayable award program for certain agricultural employers required to pay overtime wages under HB 4002 (2022). The employers must expect to have less than $3 million in annual gross income, be eligible for the tax credit for agricultural overtime pay allowed under section 8, chapter 115, Oregon Laws 2022, and expect to pay overtime wages during the year to qualify for an award. Individual awards are limited to a maximum of $40,000 for each eligible employer. Approved applicants must repay the award within two years unless the applicant does not apply for, or is ineligible for, the tax credit, in which case, the award must be repaid within 60 days. Applicants that fail to repay the award will be found in default and the case will be assigned to the Department of Revenue (DOR) for collection of debt.

HB 2058 appropriates $150,000 General Fund to the Oregon Business Development Department (OBDD) to be deposited into the Agriculture Overtime Award Fund created by the bill. The bill requires OBDD to transfer the $10.0 million General Fund received from the Emergency Board in September 2022 into the Agriculture Overtime Award Fund. Finally, the bill provides the agency with $10,150,000 Other Funds expenditure limitation to expend the funds deposited into the Agriculture Overtime Award Fund for the purposes of the Agricultural Overtime program.

If the total of all approved award amounts for an application period exceeds the amount of moneys available in the Agricultural Overtime Award Fund, the amounts shall be reduced proportionally until the total of all award amounts does not exceed the amount of moneys available. This section makes the department not accountable to handle these funds. If an employer needs the award applied for, then finds out it will be somewhat less, he won’t be able to make payroll.

In 2022 HB 4002 passed providing a tax credit that pays 60% of overtime if over 50 workers graded to 100% if less than 25 workers. But employers don’t see the money until tax time, so HB 2058 has stuffed the gap with this temporary loan system, but in the end taxpayers are paying for the majority of the cost via tax credits, plus the administration of this new program.

The state should not be in the business of banking. The legislature created this issue by passing overtime pay for harvesters, which increases the cost of their produce adding to inflation.