Candidates for State Representative District 52
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.
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||I oppose.|
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||I oppose it.|
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||We have many middle income jobs that go unfilled in Oregon because we aren't adequately preparing our workforce. I was a chief co-sponsor of the Oregon Promise which will enable more students to access post secondary education and career training so that they can access the skills necessary to enter the workforce and help fill the states labor needs. This is an example of what we need to be doing more of. Tennessee has a program that offers free tuition to adults who qualify to attend trade schools so that they can become employable.
In addition we must take a serious look at what we (the state)are doing to businesses across the state that prevents them from offering higher wages and salaries to their employees. Paid sick leave, minimum wage increase, multitudes of state-mandated rules regulations all have a cumulative effect on our employers in Oregon. And obviously if we want to attract new business that can provide better paying jobs we need to seriously consider how we can make the state more attractive to those businesses.
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||Housing is becoming a state issue. I think it is primarily a land use issue. Cities and counties must update their residential zoning regulations within existing UGB's to ensure that land is being efficiently utilized. We need to consider how we can streamline the process of UGB expansion. I think HB 4079 was a good start. Local governments should be considering how to lower SDC's in exchange for developer investment in affordable housing projects.|
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||Yes I would.|
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||Trade is extremely important to our state's economy. The dysfunction at the Port of Portland has been harmful to many commodity producers who need to get their products to foreign markets in a timely fashion. This situation must improve. In addition we need to genuinely appreciate the burden that certain state actions (minimum wage increase) can place on the traded sector that makes them less competitive globally and nationally.|
|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?|
|Mark Johnson*||Yes. I do. I've supported legislation that has streamlined the process for brownfield cleanup and mitigation on parcels of land throughout the state. I think the state should be considering how it can support local jurisdictions that need assistance in making additional industrial lands available for development.|