Business news briefs for March 2017

WASHINGTON, D.C. — With federal tax reform efforts seeking to lower the 35 percent tax rate on corporations, it’s also worth remembering that most states also impose taxes that can push business tax marginal rates above 40 percent. New analysis from Tax Foundation Policy Analyst Morgan Scarboro shows the corporate tax brackets and tax rates for these states and the District of Columbia.

The corporate tax rate in Oregon is 7.6 percent — third highest in the West, after Alaska (9.4 percent) and California (8.84 percent).

At 12 percent, Iowa has the highest top marginal rate in the country, followed by Pennsylvania (9.99 percent), Minnesota (9.8 percent), Alaska (9.4 percent), Connecticut (9 percent), New Jersey (9 percent), and D.C. (9 percent).

“Though often thought of as a major tax type, corporate income taxes account for just 5.4 percent of state tax collections and 2.7 percent of state general revenue,” Scarboro writes.`

ASTORIA — The Liberty Theater will be the setting for a public event honoring two prominent Astorians who died in late 2016 — Michael Foster and Hal Snow. On Sunday, March 19, at 1 p.m., people will talk about the roles that Snow and Foster played in the lives of many area non-profits organizations.

“Hal and Michael did so much to make the Liberty’s restoration happen,” said former Liberty president, Steve Forrester. “Our board feels obliged to honor them publicly.”

Other organizations that will speak are the Astoria High School Scholarships Fund, Lower Columbia Youth Soccer Association, Friends of Astoria Column, Clatsop County Historical Society and the Oregon Community Foundation.

Following the 3 p.m. finish, there will be refreshments and conversation in the McTavish Room.

SALEM — Oregon’s unemployment rate dropped to 4.3 percent in January, from 4.5 percent in December, the Oregon Employment Department said on Feb. 28. This was the lowest unemployment rate since comparable records began in 1976.

Revised figures show Oregon’s unemployment rate has been on a declining trend over the past seven years. Outside of the past 12 months, the only other time, over the past 40 years, that Oregon’s rate reached below 5 percent was between November 1994 and September 1995 when the rate dropped as low as 4.7 percent. In January, the U.S. unemployment rate was 4.8 percent.

There was some not-so-good news in OED’s monthly report. “Newly revised payroll employment figures show a slowdown in the overall rate of job gains in recent months, following quite rapid gains during the prior few years,” OED said.

Monthly growth was strongest in construction, which added 2,100 jobs in January, and retail trade, which added 1,200. Over the past 12 months, growth was very fast in construction, which added 10,000 jobs, or 11.5 percent.

ASTORIA — Columbia Memorial Hospital’s new telemetry system will improve community health outcomes by electronically monitoring patients as soon as they arrive at CMH and throughout their stay.

After months of coordination and planning, CMH put its hospital-wide telemetry system into operation in February.

When a patient comes to CMH with chest pain, difficulty breathing, or having a history of heart attack, heart failure, stroke or another heart related condition, electrodes will be placed on their chest. These electrodes measure the patient’s heart rhythms and wirelessly send them to a central monitoring station.

Then, the patient’s heart rhythms can be easily viewed and diagnosed by a cardiologist. Also, if the patient’s heart rhythms change in a way that suggests cardiac distress, alarms will sound and the nursing team can respond quickly.

This technology also protects the hospital’s youngest patients. Newborns in the CMH Family Birthing Center are also tracked remotely.

ASTORIA — Nestucca Spit Press (NSP), an Astoria-based independent publisher, is providing an expanded editorial service, Business Wordsmithing, for entrepreneurs, businesses and non-profit organizations. The service aims to evaluate and improve existing copy or produces original written content for print media, web sites, social media platforms, press releases and grant proposals.

“Many small business owners and entrepreneurs neglect or overlook this vital aspect of their operations,” said Matt Love, NSP Publisher and Editor. “Clear, well-written expression can help businesses prosper. Bad writing invites failure. Good words matter, especially if a business is just starting out.”

Love is the Publisher of Nestucca Spit Press, founded in 2002. He is the author/editor of 17 books about Oregon and has written hundreds of articles for more than a dozen regional publications. In 2009, he won the Oregon Literary Arts’ Stewart H. Holbrook Literary Legacy Award for his contributions to Oregon history and literature.

For more information, visit and contact Love via the website or at

ASTORIA — Each year Wauna Credit Union awards higher education scholarships to student members. “The annual scholarships are one of many ways that WCU gives back to the communities that it serves,” WCU noted in a press release.

Recipients must have graduated from high school within the last five years and be a member in good standing of WCU. Former winners are eligible to re-apply. The WCU Scholarship Committee determines the number and amount of scholarships to be awarded depending on the number of applicants. Scholarships are awarded for post-high school education. The scholarship may be used for tuition, room, board, books and fees.

Applications are now being accepted through April 15. Scholarship winners will be notified in June 2017. The application form is available through a link on the home page of the WCU website, at any WCU branch and at the local high schools. Applications may be returned to any branch or mailed to: Wauna Credit Union Scholarships, c/o Jenifer Katon, PO Box 67, Clatskanie, OR 97106.

ASTORIA — The Board of Directors of Coastal Family Health Center (CFHC) said in February its clinics in Astoria and Clatskanie will now be operated by Yakima Valley Farm Workers Clinic (YVFWC).

IRS-recognized nonprofit YVFWC provides comprehensive medical, dental, pharmacy and social services for more than 141,000 people in Oregon and Washington.

“As we approach our 15th year in operation, the board thought it was time for a more in-depth infrastructure. We also need stronger physician-recruitment services,” said CFHC Board Chair, Jeanne Windsor. “We believe that Yakima Valley offers the resources and leadership for future service enhancement that our communities need.”

Carlos Olivares, YVFWC CEO, said the early-March transition was designed to be seamless and ensure a maintaining continuity of care.

“I have done this work in many small towns across Oregon and Washington. There is nothing more important than maintaining the continuity of care your patients expect during this transition. This means making every reasonable effort to retain the excellent team that has assembled in Astoria and Clatskanie,” Olivares said. The clinic names will remain unchanged for now.

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