Traverse City Record-Eagle

Business

December 11, 2012

Lawmakers to vote on Nike expansion plan

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Athletic footwear and apparel giant Nike Inc. plans to expand its operations in Oregon and hire hundreds of workers but wants the government to promise that tax rules won't change, prompting a special session of the Legislature.

Gov. John Kitzhaber said he'll call lawmakers together Friday in Salem to create a new law authorizing him to grant Nike's wish, and legislative leaders said they'll go along.

The Legislature is due to meet in its regular annual session beginning Jan. 14, but Kitzhaber said Nike needed certainty sooner. The company was being wooed by other states, he said.

"Getting Oregonians back to work is my top priority," Kitzhaber said in a news conference.

Nike wants an agreement that its state income tax will continue to be based solely on the company's Oregon sales, regardless of any future changes in the tax code, for a negotiated time period. Before 2005, Oregon also included a company's in-state payroll and property in the corporate tax formula.

Kitzhaber is asking for authority to make such a guarantee if a company invests at least $150 million and hires 500 or more workers. Nike has not specified its expansion plans.

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