As state lawmakers prepare to launch the 2021 session on Jan. 22, a new poll from the Oregon Business & Industry Foundation has a message for them: Keep it simple.
The new OBI poll conducted earlier this month by Moore Information of Portland shows that Oregonians would like to see their lawmakers focus only on "priority" legislation.
OBI executive director Sandy McDonough, whose group represents more than 1,600 businesses across the state, notes that Oregon lawmakers have filed 1,800 bills pre-session. McDonough says that's about three times the number their counterparts in Washington state have filed.
McDonough says she worries that could mean lawmakers want to bring new taxes, regulations and complex policy bills at a time when Oregon's economy is mired in recession and its people are excluded from the Capitol for health reasons.
"What Oregonians care about now is getting the state back on track," McDonough says. "Now is not the time for new taxes and programs."
Unlike two years ago, when a similar OBI poll found that homelessness was the top issue on Oregonians' minds, this year's poll found that COVID-19 is the top issue, followed by jobs and the economy.
Getting the state back on track requires containing the pandemic, which health officials say can best be done by vaccination. There continues to be a significant percentage of people who are resistant to the idea, the poll found, although it appears to be a highly partisan issue.
Although 68% of respondents said they'd like to get vaccinated, 88% of Democrats polled said yes, while only 48% of Republicans said they'd like the shots.
The poll found half of respondents want schools to reopen, but within that number, there was also a significant partisan divide, with Republicans more than three times as likely to say they want schools to reopen their doors than Democrats.
Read results of the whole poll here.