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BEND, OR -- It was a full house for Thursday's annual Economic Development for Central Oregon (EDCO) luncheon at the Riverhouse Convention Center. Minoli Ratnatunga, Research Economist with California-based Milken Institute, and Nicole Kaeding, an economist with the Center for State Tax Policy at the Tax Foundation in Washington D.C., were the keynote speakers.

 

Ratnatunga tells KBND News Bend has seen some significant economic gains in recent years. "The Central Oregon region has shot up the charts on our Best Performing Cities index, which we released in December 2015. It's 38 places higher this year, at eighth place on our Small Cities index." And, she expects that growth to continue. "I think that you're well-placed to benefit from the growth that's happening elsewhere, as well. Your tourism sector is certainly benefiting from the great growth we've seen in Portland and Seattle, with the tech sector really shooting up the charts, there. Those are two cities that placed very highly on our Large Cities index."

 

Kaeding says that as a state, Oregon has good and bad tax policies that impact the business climate. "Oregon does not have a marriage penalty, this is a good thing. This is that idea that a couple should not pay more in taxes just because they're married than if they were filing as two single individuals. You don't have a sales tax; that helps your overall business tax climate, as well. In terms of what Oregon doesn't do so well: You have high corporate income tax rates, you have high personal income tax rates compared to other states."

 

Ratnatunga says explosive job growth, and a growing tech sector, along with education opportunities, have the region well-placed for the future.

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