Gov. Kitzhaber at Monday morning's news conference
PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) -
Gov. John Kitzhaber is calling on state legislators to meet for a special session this week in an effort to allow Nike to expand its operations in Oregon.
Kitzhaber said Nike is ready to commit to "significant expansion" to the tune of $2 billion a year in economic impact. Thousands of jobs could be created by the expansion by 2020, and it would also account for an estimated $440 million in construction.
But before Nike moves forward, it wants Oregon to assure the local company that it won't change its tax laws.
"Oregon has an extraordinary opportunity to boost our economy, create jobs and deliver on central pillars of the Oregon business plan," he said.
Kitzhaber said Nike is being heavily courted by other states for this expansion, but that the Oregon-grown company is prepared to commit to serious, long-term expansion here at home, if the state cooperates with its tax policy.
"It's an easy call and a perfect fit with our strategy to attract and retain companies that create jobs and boost per capita income," Kitzhaber said.
The legislative session is to convene Friday, Dec. 14.
Calling it the Economic Impact Investment Act, Kitzhaber said the bill would allow the governor to enter into qualifying investment contracts with any company committing to a minimum of 500 jobs and $150 million in capital investment over five years. The act creates a new economic development tool and has no fiscal impact on the state, the Governor's Office said.
Don Blair, Chief Financial Officer for NIKE, Inc., said Nike has a "long history in Oregon" and that the company supports the proposed legislation "as a way to help us continue to grow in Oregon."
So far, state politicians appear to be in agreement that Oregon needs to move quickly.
"Providing greater certainty in tax policy for a company interested in investing $150 million or more is a step in the right direction for creating a better climate for industry within our state," said Bruce Hanna, the Oregon House Co-Speaker.
"This is a rare opportunity and we're not going to miss it, said Senate President Peter Courtney. "We're going to send a signal to the rest of the country by coming into special session and taking action."
Nike has made two big moves in recent months. It announced a deal to sell Umbro to clothing license company Iconix Brand Group Inc. for $225 million earlier this fall.
It also announced a deal to sell the Cole Haan brand to private equity firm Apax Partners for $570 million in November.
At this point, further details about Nike's plans for expansion, such as a location, aren't available.
Copyright 2012 KPTV (Meredith Corporation.) All rights reserved.
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