At the behest of Nike, Oregon hastily convened a special one-day legislative session on Friday in order to ensure the global behemoth retains its preferential tax status in the state.
The spectacle of an emergency legislative session to pass a tax break for a single company was prompted by Nike threats to take a planned expansion out of state. As Nike warned, other states are “heavily courting” the company.
Not wanting to “lose” Nike, which houses its 200-acre corporate headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., Democratic Governor John Kitzhaber eagerly called a special session and deemed cowing to Nike threats a “no-brainer.” And with the support of Democrats, and calls from lawmakers to “just do it,” the Nike tax break easily passed both legislative chambers—the demands of Nike lobbyists codified by Oregon legislators into law.
Under the terms of the Nike tax-break deal, Oregon’s governor is now free to reach an agreement with the company in which the state will guarantee no changes to Nike’s current tax status will occur over the next 30 years in return for a company promise of 500 new jobs and a $150 million expansion.