Major Positions

OSBRL's membership has extensive knowledge of community strengths and needs. Working through OSBRL, small business is a significant partner in planning and guiding all aspects of community development. OSBRL has identified the following components, which are critical to small business and to Oregon's political, economic and social vitality.

Political systems that are inclusive and encourage participation
OSBRL is committed to the principle that government works best when we the governed take an active interest in the work of those that we choose to represent us. OSBRL is a non-partisan organization and our membership reflects that the concerns we are committed to address are bi-partisan and not reflective of a given political party.

We have observed that some efforts to better the economy by our elected officials have not had the desired results for our state and our small businesses. OSBRL is committed to bringing our collective practical experience in operating small businesses to bear on state and national issues, to help minimize the negative impact of unintended consequences that occur through the passing of legislation without adequate prior research.

We are dedicated to engaging our elected officials in state and national government in dialogue, and offering our own real world input regarding issues that affect small businesses and the communities in which we live and work.

We are putting issues and potential solutions before our elected representatives, and providing them with relevant background information, on the principle that people of good will make the best decisions when they are well informed.

We are clear that we must solicit and internalize good and relevant information as we craft our policy positions. To that end we seek input from OSBRL members, from government officials, from key members of our communities, and from nonprofit organizations that may have specific expertise on policy matters under discussion.

OSBRL also recognizes that we are most effective when we can make common cause with other advocacy groups, local officials, and service organizations in our communities. Divisiveness may provide short term victories for individuals or political parties, but it is destructive to good governance. We will continue to seek out synergies that can be leveraged for the good of Oregon small businesses and for all citizens of our state.

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Economic systems that provide multiple opportunities for participation
Economic issues affecting small business often mirror those of concern to the larger corporations, however, small business has less financial tolerance of these effects. OSBRL is poised to monitor and committed to work toward positive change on the following major issues affecting small business in a big way:

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Education systems that provide life long opportunities for Professional, Technical and personal development

Education services, whether public, private or provided by business and industry are critical to Oregon's development and future stability. The need for quality and affordable education opportunities continues to grow. Life long learning for personal and career development is essential for the future political, economic and social wellbeing of our communities. The public expects school managers to provide quality education services while also appropriately allocating and protecting school resources. In return, our public schools and colleges must be adequately funded and supported through involvement by the communities they serve.

Future success is often determined by the quality of learning provided by our compulsory public elementary and high schools. However, urban school systems across Oregon continue to fail to adequately prepare significant numbers of our students to enter the workforce or to pursue further education. Approximately 57% of the State budget goes to K-12 schools, but education leaders often blame lack of adequate and stable funding for the problem. Additional funding is provided by local property and special tax measures. Parents will support schools that meet the needs of their children and taxpayers will invest in productive, well-managed public school systems. Successful schools will engage the learner and will invite parental, school employee and business involvement in developing and implementing school policies and programs.

OSBRL will work to create sustainable school reform through the genuine involvement of students, school employees and parents. In partnership with these key stakeholders, OSBRL will help create safe, efficient neighborhood schools that promote trust and bonding and where successful learning and teaching will flourish. Our public schools will once again become centers of neighborhood and community activities.

OSBRL believes that public education is a community responsibility. Taxpayers must provide adequate resources. Community based businesses must support school activities and provide experiences for students as they transition from school to work. We must build support systems for those who may require a helping hand during times of transition. In return, school leadership at the state and local levels must create safe, trusting and inclusive school environments and management practices, which will result in successful schools.

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Environmental practices that promote conservation, sustainability and livability enhancement

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Social justice systems that promote responsibility, safety, trust building and equality
The OSBRL is actively working toward social justice for all. We do not believe in preferential treatment for any group or class. We are all Oregonians. Whether it be the aged population, ethnic minorities, children and families in poverty, domestic partners who are denied the legal rights that come automatically to married couples, or victims of domestic violence; We believe that when all Oregonians have the same opportunities to succeed and thrive in our economic and political systems, we all benefit. When individuals or groups are denied these opportunities, we all suffer.

The State of Oregon and many non-profits throughout Oregon continually work to improve the lives of Oregonians. The OSBRL supports legislation and legislative funding to support enhancements in social justice and social service programs in Oregon. Also, the OSBRL applauds the contributions Oregonís small businesses have made to local non-profits to fund social justice and social service programs in their communities.

The objectives of the OSBRL are:

  1. Develop a plan that outlines how to influence government and private industry to improve social justice and social service programs that serve Oregonians. This includes identifying an alternative revenue source to fund program changes and enhancements.
  2. Implement the plan.
  3. Work with private industry to assist small businesses in identifying and assisting local social justice and social service focused non-profits.
  4. Work with federal and state public leadership to enact legislation that provides enhancements to social justice and social service programs. This includes providing adequate funding that doesnít take away from other important State activities such as education and transportation.
  5. Work with the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Congress to assist in the passage of legislation and allocation of funding for programs that improve livability standards for all Oregonians and specifically provide adequate support and funding for Oregonians in need.

The OSBRL is in the process of developing workable strategies that will assist OSBRL and Oregonís small business community in enhancing and expanding Oregonís social justice and social service programs to provide more adequate support to a larger number of Oregonians in need. This includes working with Oregon State leadership, the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Congress require proposed legislation or program enhancements to social justice and social service programs identify appropriate funding that is not at the expense of other infrastructure programs.

A strong system of social justice and solid social service programs for Oregonís needy are issues of major concern for many small businesses and Oregonians. Providing needed support to qualifying Oregonians reduces the financial burden on Oregon small businesses through reduced healthcare costs and other related expenses as well as improving the lives of all Oregonians.

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Healthcare services that are readily available, affordable and provide quality care
The OSBRL has formed a healthcare subcommittee to address healthcare issues that are important to small businesses and all Oregonians. The mission of the OSBRL healthcare subcommittee is to seek ways to expand affordable healthcare for Oregonians at a reasonable cost to small businesses.

The objectives of the subcommittee are:

  1. Develop a plan that outlines how to influence government and private industry to provide health insurance coverage that is affordable.
  2. Implement the plan.
  3. Work with private industry to develop small business oriented health insurance packages that are affordable and provide at least catastrophic healthcare coverage for small businesses and their employees.
  4. Work with federal and state public leadership to enact legislation that provides incentives to offer affordable health insurance coverage and/or mandates coverage at a rate that is affordable for small businesses.
  5. Seek public and private sources of funding that can potentially subsidize the cost of healthcare for small businesses and their employees.
  6. Work with the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Congress to assist in the passage of legislation and allocation of funding for programs that improve affordability of healthcare for small businesses and provide wider access to healthcare by all Oregonians.

The subcommittee is in the process of developing workable strategies that will assist OSBRL and Oregonís small business community in providing affordable health care and health insurance to employees. This includes working with Oregon State leadership, the Oregon Legislative Assembly and Congress require healthcare related legislation include language that requires addressing preventative care. Also, OSBRL intends to work with political leadership in Oregon and nationally to make sure proposed legislation or program changes that benefit small businesses and provide affordable healthcare/health insurance provides funding for the proposed legislation or healthcare programs.

OSBRL invites any of its members who are interested in participating as a member of the healthcare subcommittee to contact the subcommittee chair, Chris Apgar, at Affordable healthcare is an issue of major concern for many small businesses and Oregonians and input/participation would be welcome.

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Social Security and retirement programs that are protected and encourage adequate saving and investment
The OSBRL subcommittee on Social Security has researched the effect of privatization on small business, as well as discussing the issue with our elected representatives. After careful deliberation the OSBRL is opposing privatization for a number of reasons. Higher taxes and higher interest rates that would result are not harbingers of growth for small businesses or the U.S. in general. There are three (3) concerns in particular that affect us directly:

  1. Borrowing the trillions necessary to institute and administrate this program effects the economy in a manner that would cause rising interest rates which disproportionately effect small businesses needing capital for growth and development.
  2. Private accounts will do nothing to solve the systems long term financial problem, by decreasing social security benefits it will add to the deterioration of the structural budget balance of the last 4 years, thus creating slower growth, impeding the ability of small business to raise capital & limiting productivity and growth. Slower growth generates less government revenue and bigger budget deficits.
  3. Privatization would necessitate tax increases as more seniors, disabled citizens & children and widowed spouses fall into STATE Medicaid and welfare programs-THIS IS A COST SHIFT TO THE STATES WITH NO ADDITIONAL REVENUE COMING IN TO PAY FOR IT, EXCEPT TAX INCREASES. Oregon along with many other states has a constitutionally required balanced budget.

OSBRL's campaign on this issue had enough impact to help stop the move toward privatization, we are, however, alert to the possibility of it coming into play again in the future.
For more information, please contact Tamar Boussi at

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Cultural development that support and encourage positive human relations and values diversity.
Oregonians must strive to build an enlightened culture based on positive human relations and that values diversity, individual initiative and mutuality. Human capital is Oregon's most valuable resource. Individual and group initiative, creativity, and effort are the source of all creations that bring value and enjoyment to our communities. Oregonians living, working and interacting across our state, value, recognize, accept and encourage the participation and contribution of all community members.

OSBRL will encourage working models based on positive human relations in our government and public institutions, in the business sector and in our community and neighborhood associations. Guidelines to successful working relationships include the following:

Give/Assume Responsibility.--Taking initiative is encouraged and those who do their part will be recognized and rewarded for their effort.
Give/Receive Recognition and Acceptance.--All community members are welcomed and encouraged to participate and contribute from their own unique knowledge, skills, experiences and perspectives.
Give/Receive Open Communications.--All participants can share their knowledge, experiences and opinions in an environment of safety, trust and with appreciation.
Work for Mutuality at Times of Disagreement.--Opportunities are provided for open discourse and argument without pressure to compromise principals. Keeping an open mind and learning form the points of view of others is encouraged. It is acceptable to "agree to disagree" and to continue future communications. Ultimately participants will reach solutions that result in fair and acceptable policies.

Oregon is blessed with a diverse population that brings with it the vast experiences and perspectives of peoples from throughout the world. This brings immeasurable potential benefits to every level of Oregon society. Helping to create opportunities for everyone to participate, develop and contribute will be a challenging and exciting adventure for all of us.

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