Candidates for State Representative District 26

A questionnaire was sent to candidates in the Portland-metro region, and below are the responses in regard to issues that are important to the Alliance and the business community.

* indicates Alliance endorsed candidate.

1. The Allianceís primary focus for the 2016 election cycle will be to support those candidates and ballot measure proponents who clearly and publicly join us in opposing IP 28, the gross receipts tax measure, which will be so detrimental to Oregonís economy. What is your position on IP28?
John Boylston* I oppose it wholeheartedly. It is a jobs killer.
2. The Portland Business Alliance and its members, have a long history of supporting education. The business community is a critical partner, helping to fundraise and advocate for schools to have adequate and stable funding. Do you support the proposed payroll tax on Portland-metro region employers to help fund Portland State University?
John Boylston* I support the need to advocate for schools and universities and properly fund them. However, I do not believe that a Metro based payroll tax is the best way to do this.
3. The Value of Jobs Coalition's 2015 Middle-Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metro, like most of the nation, has seen low- and high-income jobs account for increasingly larger shares of the regionís overall employment base, while middle-income jobs, as a share of the regionís total employment, have dropped from 69 percent in 1980 to 57 percent in 2013. What would you do to increase the number of middle-income jobs in both urban and rural parts of our state?
John Boylston* The first thing would be to restore traditional vocational training, and add mode vocational training in computer coding and similar fields. Oregon students and Oregonians should be educationally equipped to compete in the middle class jobs that are currently available, but where companies often have to hire from outside the state. Additionally, I would work to reduce taxes and regulations on small businesses while creating incentives for them to hire more employees. This would be in contrast to our current system that tends to create disincentives for companies to add employees past certain milestones.
4. The same Middle Income Jobs Report found that Portland-metroís housing prices are becoming increasingly out of reach not only for low-income households, but also for middle-income households. The Alliance played a key role in negotiating a deal on the inclusionary zoning legislation that was passed and signed into law in the 2016 session. What would you do to address housing affordability for middle-income residents and do you think this is a state issue or a local issue?
John Boylston* Affordable housing is an issue that must be discussed at every level of government. Inclusionary zoning is a piece of the puzzle, but we have to make sure that we are not inadvertently creating a two tier structure that makes housing available for the lower and upper classes, but leaves out the middle. If we require too many subsidized units, then the price of the non-subsidized units will rise too high for middle class families. If the metro-area continues to be a place that people want to move to, then we will have to continue with, and encourage more, density in neighborhoods in the form of new duplexes, row houses, and other high density neighborhood options.
5. The 2015 Economic Impacts of Congestion report shows that the Portland-region and the state of Oregonís competitiveness is largely dependent on efficient transportation. Failure to adequately invest in the system could cost the Portland-metro region $822 million annually by 2040 and close to 6,000 jobs. Do you support a state transportation package? Would you work on a state transportation package in the 2017 legislative session that supports freight movement and removes bottlenecks?
John Boylston* Yes. Our region must move goods efficiently, cost effectively and safely. Transportation and infrastructure and maintenance of existing systems are some of the biggest issues facing our economy and the livability of Oregon. I would put working on a state transportation package during the 2017 legislative session at a high priority.
6. The Portland-metro regionís geographic location on the Pacific Rim, deep-water and inland port system, international air connections and extensive road and rail infrastructure play a significant role in the growth of Oregon businesses and jobs. Many small, medium, and large businesses throughout the state rely on efficient connections to domestic and international markets. What is your view on the role of trade to our stateís economy and what can the state do to promote traded-sector opportunities?
John Boylston* Trade is very important to Oregonís economy. Currently, more than one in five Oregon jobs are dependent upon trade. Trade has the potential to make Oregon a leader in the 21st century, but we have to have an operational port in order for that to happen. The Governor should be leading the effort to resolve the issues at the Port of Portland, and if not the Governor, then the legislature should step in. Without an operating port, our businesses have to send goods by truck or train to other ports, costing considerable time and money. For some agricultural goods and products, these costs and delays have a detrimental impact on their ability to sell goods outside of the Northwest.
7. The Alliance is committed to ensuring an adequate supply of shovel ready industrial lands to support job retention and growth. Manufacturing, in particular, requires industrial land and provides higher wages and better benefits than non-manufacturing jobs, particularly for non-whites and non-English- speaking workers. In a previous session, the Alliance supported a bill that would have allowed the state to provide loans and grants to jurisdictions to make industrial land market ready; the policy passed, but no associated funding was approved. Do you believe the state has a role in helping local jurisdictions promote adequate industrial lands that are shovel ready for development?
John Boylston* Yes. If there are any state rules or regulations that would inhibit a local municipalitiesí ability to make that land shovel ready, then the State should work with the local government to obtain variances and/or revise State law. Unnecessary obstacles to growth and development of these industrial lands should be removed. Further, to the extent that the State can provide loans to businesses that show the financial viability to repay those loans, they could and should be made available on a non-discriminatory basis. The State should not be picking winners and losers, but can support many businesses with new development in the manufacturing sphere.