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Barton to lead Small Business Task Force

Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek (D-Portland) on Wednesday announced the formation of a legislative task force to support Oregon small businesses. The House Small Business Task Force will focus its work on existing bills that benefit small businesses and develop recommendations for policy concepts that will help business growth and job creation.

The task force, consisting of an equal number of Democrats and Republicans, will be co-chaired by Rep. Brent Barton (D-Oregon City), an attorney, and Rep. Tim Freeman (R-Roseburg), a small-business owner in Douglas County.

“We’ve taken many steps already this session that will support Oregon’s economic health. By targeting the needs of small businesses, we will do everything in the Legislature’s power to encourage growth and job creation,” Barton said.

Other task-force members include Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Ontario), Rep. Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay), Rep. Kim Thatcher (R-Keizer) and Rep. David Gomberg (D-Central Coast).

“Small businesses are an essential part of Oregon’s economic vitality,” Kotek said. “By supporting small businesses, we support communities around the state. This bipartisan task force will have the expertise and focus to maximize what the Legislature can do to assist small-business job creation.”

Barton says that he is not focused on advocating for specific bills but rather exploring what small businesses need.

“I’d like to know what services are out there now and what small businesses are facing,” he said. “Just because the services exist doesn’t mean they are going where they need to.”

The task force will meet several times before the end of the session with a focus on small-business legislation currently under consideration. The group will continue its work into the interim, with a goal of gathering ideas for potential legislative concepts for the 2014 session.

“I look forward to working with my colleagues to do everything possible to support existing and emerging small businesses,” Freeman said.



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