Skip to Content

Gov. Brown releases budget proposal as state deals with multiple crises

Gov, Kate Brown proposed budget 1201
Gov, Kate Brown outlines recommended 2021-23 budget, priorities on Tuesday

(Update: Adding AP summary, OSU-Cascades funding, budget reaction from several groups)

Focuses include COVID-19, wildfire recovery, systemic racism

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — In a year where Oregon has weathered a global pandemic that has killed more than 900 residents, forest fires that ravaged 1 million acres and ongoing protests in the state’s largest city,  Gov. Kate Brown’s budget proposal attempts to mitigate the effects of the turmoil.

A key part of the Democrat’s 2021-2023 budget released Tuesday is to secure additional coronavirus relief funds, as current monies are set to expire on Dec. 31.  

For months, Brown and lawmakers have urged Congress to immediately reinstitute the $600 supplemental benefit for unemployment and enhance federal employment compensation.

The two-year, general fund budget proposal is more than $25 billion.

“2020 has challenged Oregon in unimaginable ways. We have been tested to the core, and the most vital needs of Oregon families — health, safety, education, housing, and the ability to learn a living — have all been challenged in new ways,” Brown said.

The governor’s recommended spending plan is $100.2 billion in total funds spending, including $25.6 billion in General Fund and Lottery Funds. It will be considered by lawmakers when they convene in Salem in January. The Legislature is controlled by Brown’s fellow Democrats.

As lawmakers wait to see if Congress will pass another COVID-19 relief package, Brown’s proposed budget calls for federal funds for COVID-19 testing, health services, rent forgiveness, targeted mortgage relief, additional $600 payments in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance, a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses, child care support and more flexible Coronavirus Relief Fund support for local and state governments.

In addition to applying federal funds towards pandemic response, the governor’s budget invests $30 million in public health modernization “to better prepare Oregon’s public health system to respond to events like the current pandemic.

While the proposed budget keeps higher education funding flat, at the last biennium's approved spending levels, it also includes several capital projects, including $15.8 million for work OSU-Cascades in Bend. Asked about it during her news conference, Brown said she had "heard the (planned) Student Center is really important" for students at the Bend campus.

The budget also includes $17.9 million in investments in a range of strategies to protect seniors living in assisted living and nursing homes where there have been an abundance of COVID-19 outbreaks. Oregonians who are 80 or older account for more than half of the state’s COVID-19 deaths.

Those also struggling during the pandemic are small business owners and workers.

Restaurants have been forced to close their doors, only allowing takeout, as an effort to slow the spread of the virus and sometimes results in closing their doors for good. Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, about 200 restaurants, or 2%, have permanently closed in the state.

Read more at:

News releases:

Governor Kate Brown Releases Recommended Budget and Policy Agenda

Budget focuses on addressing key challenges facing Oregonians to build a stronger, fairer, and more resilient state 

(Salem, OR) — Gov. Kate Brown today released her recommended budget and policy agenda for the 2021-23 biennium, which focuses on the key challenges facing Oregonians: the public health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, recovery from the devastating 2020 wildfire season, and taking steps to end systemic racism and address racial disparities in Oregon.

“2020 has challenged Oregon in unimaginable ways. We have been tested to the core, and the most vital needs of Oregon families — health, safety, education, housing, and the ability to learn a living — have all been challenged in new ways,” said Governor Brown. “I have been awe-inspired by Oregonians who have stepped up at every turn to protect their friends, families and neighbors. The compassionate spirit of our state has shined through. Oregon has proven to be a port in the storm.”

“Through it all, we are determined to rise, and rebuild. And as we do, we must ensure the future is a just one; that we create an Oregon where everyone has the opportunity to thrive. Where every voice is heard.”

In 2020, Governor Brown convened a Racial Justice Council with leaders from Oregon’s Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, immigrant, refugee, Native American, and Tribal communities to develop specific investments and policy proposals to begin to dismantle systemic racism in Oregon. Those proposals are interwoven throughout the Governor’s recommended budget and policy agenda.

The Governor’s main budget and policy areas include:

  • Ensuring all Oregonians’ basic needs are met. After a year in which Oregon families have had their daily lives upended, this budget prioritizes making sure Oregonians have their most basic needs met: a warm, safe, dry, affordable, and accessible place to call home, access to health care, child care for working parents, K-12 schools, and COVID-19 relief resources.
  • Housing and Homelessness. The Governor’s budget invests in housing and homelessness at $65.9 million over the 2019-21 investment levels, and calls on Congress for $350 million in rent assistance. The Governor’s budget also includes $20 million in homeowner assistance, and $250 million in affordable housing development funds.
  • COVID-19 pandemic response. In addition to applying federal funds towards pandemic response, the Governor’s budget invests $30 million in public health modernization to better prepare Oregon’s public health system to respond to events like the current pandemic. Other pandemic-related investments are included throughout the budget.
  • Long-term care. The Governor’s budget includes $17.9 million in investments in a range of strategies to protect se­niors living in assisted living and nursing homes from COVID-19.
  • Health care. The Governor’s budget also addresses the challenge of adequately, sustainably, and equitably funding our health care system during a once-in-a-hundred-year public health emergency. Largely due to the pandemic, Oregon faces a $718 million budget gap for the Oregon Health Plan––coverage which provides an essential bridge to reducing health disparities by improving access to care and protecting low-income families from financial ruin. In addition, Coronavirus Relief Funds that have been used to fund COVID-19 response efforts will expire on December 31. The Governor’s budget helps close that gap through cost savings and an expected extension of enhanced Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.
  • Behavioral health. The Governor’s budget also makes investments in behavioral health and substance use disorder resources, informed by the recommendations from the Alcohol and Drug Policy Commission (ADPC) Strategic Plan, the Tribal Behavioral Health Strategic Plan, the Governor’s Behavioral Health Advisory Council, and the Racial Justice Council.
  • Creating a future we can be proud of: Equity in education and our environment. Building a stronger Oregon requires dismantling the structures of racism in our government systems and programs, and creating an inclusive state that works for everyone. 
  • K-12 education. After a year in which historic disparities in education have been exacerbated by a pandemic and wildfires, the Governor’s budget keeps Oregon’s commitments made to Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Tribal and students of color by fully funding Student Success Act programs and initiatives, as well as grants to schools under the High School Graduation and College and Career Readiness Fund, and funding the State School Fund at $9.1 billion. The Governor’s budget stabilizes education funding by drawing $215 million from the Education Stability Fund for public schools.
  • Broadband expansion. An investment of $118 million in broadband expansion statewide will connect an additional 50 urban and rural communities that currently lack access. During a pandemic that has necessitated both distance learning for students and remote work for workers, equitable broadband access is critical for educational outcomes and economic opportunity.
  • Early learning and child care. Recognizing that the first years of a child’s life are critical to lifelong success, the Governor’s budget expands high-quality early care and education programs for 8,000 children through Oregon Pre-K, Early Head Start, Preschool Promise, and the Early Childhood Equity Fund.
  • Environmental Justice. To address the disproportionate impact of climate change, wildfires, water quality and access, on Black, Indigenous, Latino, Latina, and Latinx, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American, and Tribal community members, the Governor’s budget invests in the creation of an Office of Environmental Justice, greenhouse gas reduction programs, and equitable water access, and wildfire preparedness, response, and prevention.  
  • Supporting small businesses and workers: COVID-19 and wildfire relief and recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating financial impact on many Oregon businesses and working families. Through no fault of their own, Oregonians have lost jobs, closed businesses, laid off employees, and found themselves struggling to pay rent and make ends meet. Communities impacted by wildfire likewise need support to recover from the devastation of the 2020 fire season.
  • Worker relief and workplace protection. A key priority of the Governor’s budget and policy agenda is to secure additional coronavirus relief funds from Congress, as current federal relief funds are set to expire on December 31. The Governor’s budget also seeks to maintain funding for the Oregon Worker Relief Fund, Oregon Worker Quarantine Fund, and the COVID-19 temporary paid leave program, to continue to support Oregon workers during this pandemic, regardless of immigration status. The Governor’s budget maintains funding for the Oregon Employment Department to ensure Oregon workers are paid the benefits they are owed, as well as for Oregon OSHA, to ensure workplace protections continue to be enforced. The Governor’s Budget includes $146.4 million to fully modernize the Employment Department’s benefit delivery system and also to implement Paid Family Leave Insurance benefits for Oregon workers.
  • Wildfire recovery and preparedness. The Governor’s budget dedicates $189.5 million to rebuild communities impacted by the fires. The Governor’s Wildfire Economic Recovery Council will also have access to an additional $170 million of community development resources. Funds will support debris cleanup, tree removal, sheltering and housing, food assistance, and community infrastructure This includes $30 million in investments in the Oregon Department of Forestry, and setting aside $40 million to address recommendations from the Governor’s Council on Wildfire Response. It provides an additional $47 million in grants and loans for wildfire recovery. In addition, the budget invests $73.7 million in fire preparedness, response, and prevention resources.
  • Reforming the criminal justice system. While Oregon has taken strides to reform the criminal justice system in the past decade, the events of 2020––such as disruptions and delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as community calls for racial justice––have magnified the urgency of the need for reform. Widespread racial disparities exist throughout Oregon’s criminal justice system. Black people represent 2.2 percent of Oregon’s population but 9.3 percent of the state’s prison population. The Governor’s budget advances Oregon reform efforts on many fronts, from expanding police accountability measures to reforming our courts and stabilizing the Department of Corrections budget going forward.
  • Improving systems to improve outcomes. The challenges of 2020 have also shown the need to strengthen the core functions of our democracy. The Governor’s budget and policy agenda make investments in core systems, continue to expand voting access and institutionalize the Racial Justice Council and its focus on racial justice. 

A federal stimulus plan is critical to addressing the dire needs Oregon and other states face due to the COVID-19 pandemic and wildfire recovery. The Governor’s recommended budget and policy agenda call for federal funds for: COVID-19 testing, health services, and support for the Oregon Health Plan; rent forgiveness and targeted mortgage relief; additional $600 payments in Federal Pandemic Unemployment Insurance; support for families facing new economic stresses due to rising winter COVID-19 cases and renewed closures; a renewal of the Paycheck Protection Program for small businesses; child care support for to help Oregonians go back to work; expanding drug courts and rehabilitation services and continuing criminal justice reforms; support for schools, child care, and universities working to reopen; additional and more flexible Coronavirus Relief Fund support for local and state governments; and continued financial and technical supports for wildfire-impacted communities.

As Oregon has weathered several simultaneous crises and challenges in the past year, the Governor’s Recommended Budget focuses on addressing Oregonians’ basic needs and addressing  the key challenges impacting Oregon in the face of continued economic uncertainty. The Governor’s Recommended Budget for 2021-23 proposes $100.2 billion in total funds spending, including $25.6 billion in General Fund and Lottery Funds. Thanks to prudent spending and healthy reserves, Oregon remains in a healthy position to meet future challenges. The budget includes over $293.8 million in increased revenues and leaves $243.3 million in the General Fund. In addition, by the end of the 2019-21 biennium, the Rainy Day Fund is projected to have a balance of $942.3 million.

condensed budget summary is available in addition to the Governor's full strategic budget at

A copy of the Governor's remarks from today's press conference is available here.

A recording of today's press conference livestream is available here.

Oregon Hospitals Decry Governor’s Proposed Budget Cuts

Direct cuts to hospitals will force hospitals to reduce services to Oregonians during a pandemic.

Lake Oswego, Ore. – December 1, 2020 – Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, released the following statement on hospital cuts proposed by the Governor Kate Brown.

“The Governor’s budget reflects her priorities and choices. She has chosen to propose direct cuts to hospitals in the midst of the biggest public health crisis in a century. Cuts of this magnitude could force hospitals to reduce services to Oregonians during a pandemic. These cuts cannot be justified. Hospitals led the effort to secure new revenue for the Oregon Health Plan through the passage of M108, which secured $100 million in new revenue for this budget and $300 million for the next biennium.

“Throughout her budget, she specifically targets hospitals at a time when COVID-19 hospitalizations are rising, hospitals are reducing elective procedures, and Oregonians are counting on local hospitals to care for them and their family members. We should be coming together as a community to respond to this pandemic to serve all Oregonians, but this budget does not reflect that spirit of collaboration.

“In addition to addressing COVID-19, hospitals across Oregon have been affected this year by historic fires (which led to the evacuation of five hospitals) and global cyberattacks (which forced at least one hospital to operate on paper for weeks). Over the first six months of 2020, net patient revenue fell about 21% compared to the beginning of the year and stands at its lowest since 2016. As CARES Act funds are depleted (or may be needed to be returned based on latest Provider Relief Reporting guidelines), without additional emergency funds or a steep increase in net patient revenue, the financial situation of community hospitals in Oregon may become more precarious in the months ahead.

“If enacted, the Governor’s budget will exacerbate an already uncertain financial situation for many hospitals. Reductions of this magnitude are likely to cause hospitals to cut services, impacting access to care for vulnerable Oregonians.” 


About OAHHS: Founded in 1934, OAHHS is a statewide, nonprofit trade association that works closely with local and national government leaders, business and citizen coalitions, and other professional health care organizations to enhance and promote community health and to continue improving Oregon’s innovative health care delivery system.

Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce Responds To Governor’s Proposed Budget

Salem, Ore. - Oregon Manufacturers and Commerce released the following statement today upon reviewing Governor Kate Brown’s proposed budget for the 2021-2023 biennium:

“Despite a generational health and economic crisis, state revenues have remained relatively stable and should prove adequate in fully funding our state’s government core services without raising new taxes. At the same time, the economic fallout of the pandemic coupled with an increasingly burdensome regulatory environment is threatening long-term damage to our state’s core industries, such as manufacturing. This damage is reversible, but only if our state leaders commit to supporting the private sector through the recovery phase of this crisis and beyond.

“We once again urge Governor Brown and legislative leaders to focus their energy in the 2021 session on protecting our state’s economy from further harm, restoring lost jobs, and doing everything possible to expedite the recovery for Oregon workers and employers. That means rejecting new tax increases and suspending regulatory actions not tied to the pandemic. Doing so will not only preserve the state’s ability to balance the budget in 2021-2023, but in future budget cycles as well.”

Oregon Beverage Alliance Thanks Gov. Brown for Not Including Harmful Tax Increases on Beer, Wine and Cider in Budget

Due to COVID-19, Oregon has already lost 50,000 hospitality jobs

PORTLAND, Ore. — Closures due to COVID-19, coupled with unprecedented wildfires, have had a devastating impact on Oregon’s breweries, wineries, cideries, restaurants, bars and hospitality sector. The Oregon Beverage Alliance appreciates that Gov. Kate Brown’s proposed budget does not include harmful tax increases that would add insult to injury for these homegrown businesses.

“When brewpubs, tasting rooms, restaurants and bars were ordered by the state of Oregon to close, overnight our business models were destroyed. Deschutes lost 45% of its business over the course of one week and it is currently happening again. Even when restaurants and brewpubs reopen, there will be limitations on seating, eliminating revenue that will significantly threaten Oregon’s craft beer industry. With the current closures in place, craft breweries have had to once again furlough many employees. The Governor knows we cannot afford a tax increase,” said Michael LaLonde, President and CEO of Deschutes Brewery.

“I am a fifth-generation Oregon farmer, and sadly, this is the first year our family vineyard will shrink instead of grow because of COVID-19 and unprecedented wildfires. Now is the time for lawmakers to support these job creators, not burden them with additional taxes. We can pull through these horrible times and will be back to growing opportunities through living wage jobs and providing more tax dollars and high-value tourism. Reasonable taxation is the key to growth and investment in this critical sector of Oregon’s economy and identity,” said Adam Campbell, Owner and Winemaker at Elk Cove Vineyards.

“Because of COVID-19, 81% of Oregon’s 100 cideries were forced to close their tasting rooms and 50% laid off workers. At 2 Towns Ciderhouse, we’ve fought to keep our 100 employees, but another tax increase and continued closures only make it harder for us to invest in these jobs, and it will result in higher prices for consumers. We need the support of Gov. Brown and other lawmakers during these challenging times,” said Aaron Sarnoff Wood, Co-founder of 2 Towns Ciderhouse.

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, Oregon was home to 400 breweries, 900 wineries, 1,200 vineyards, 100 cideries, 73 distributors, 10,000 restaurants and 37,200 farms, creating thousands of good-paying jobs and several billion dollars in wages. Many of those jobs are now at risk or have been lost. Tax increases only make it harder for these businesses to invest in rehiring, equipment, upgrades and expansion, and will result in higher prices for consumers.

Sadly, earlier this year the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) released a budget proposal for the next biennium budget that would have raised $293 million from new beer, wine and cider taxes. The OHA proposal would have resulted in an unprecedented 800% tax increase on Oregon’s brewers, winemakers, cideries and consumers at a time when people are struggling with the COVID-19 recession. Prudently, the Governor recognized these struggling businesses and the negative impact an increased tax would have on local jobs and Oregon’s economy. 

Oregonians also overwhelmingly voted to fund OHA and addiction recovery through Ballot Measure 110, making it unnecessary to raise taxes on Oregon’s local beer, wine, cider and hospitality businesses. Nearly 75% of Oregon likely voters oppose increasing beer, wine and cider taxes because they know these businesses are vitally important to Oregon’s identity and economy. Oregonians recognize they can have both strong and responsive addiction treatment programs without unnecessarily raising taxes on the local beer, wine and cider sector.

Oregon already has some of the highest alcohol prices in the country. And Oregon’s beer, wine, cider and spirits sectors are the third largest source of revenue for the state — behind income taxes and the state lottery.


About the Oregon Beverage Alliance 

The Oregon Beverage Alliance is made up of local brewers, winemakers, cidermakers, distillers and their supply and hospitality partners creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. Learn more:



Organizations representing Oregon community college and university students, faculty, and staff applaud portions of Governor Kate Brown’s Recommended Budget (GRB) for the 2021-23 biennium while cautioning more resources will be required to avoid major negative impacts. 

The GRB includes important new investments in part-time faculty health insurance and programs enhancing success for underserved students, while protecting financial aid.  Although the GRB matches the 2019-21 legislatively-approved budgets for the Community College Support Fund (CCSF) and Public University Support Fund (PUSF), not accounting for actual inflation would result in major tuition hikes and/or faculty and staff layoffs if not increased by the Legislature.

“Governor Brown’s proposed investments in programs that close opportunity gaps by preparing all students for success deserve legislative support,” said Emily Wanous, Oregon Student Association Legislative Director.  “Students have been economically devastated by this pandemic, at a time when food and housing insecurity among our students had already reached alarming rates.  We are counting on the Legislature to add more resources to the Oregon Opportunity Grant as well as the CCSF and PUSF.  If not, the next two years will be filled with an increase in dropout rates, unacceptable increases in our tuition, and layoffs of our faculty and staff which we know will impact low-income students and low-wage workers the hardest.”

“We applaud Governor Brown’s commitment to funding part-time faculty health insurance for the first time ever.  Part-time faculty are doing essential work, and they deserve affordable health insurance,” said Jaime Rodriguez, AFT-Oregon President.  “At the same time, we need greater state CCSF and PUSF funding next biennium to avoid devastating impacts to higher education faculty and staff who have demonstrated their adaptability and effectiveness for students.”

A November report by the Lumina Foundation and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation concluded that “Not only would another round of higher education cuts hamper our economic resiliency, it would also increase inequality….Consider this a “rainy day” and tap into resources that can help meet shortfalls.  Direct these resources to programs and supports that help the most vulnerable populations affected by COVID-19.” 

Oregon’s Higher Education Coalition commend the Governor’s commitment to equity, inclusion, and justice through intergenerational economic mobility.  They also call on state legislative leaders to utilize state budget reserves, secure more federal aid, and increase revenue to avoid continued higher education cuts and ensure student success.

Statement from Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle on Governor’s Recommended Budget

“I’m grateful that Governor Kate Brown’s recommended budget makes significant, desperately needed investments in civil rights and workers’ rights enforcement. We also very much appreciate the investment recommendations for our business Technical Assistance division, which has been critical in communicating the rapidly changing landscape for small businesses in Oregon.

It’s never been more critical to make sure we are enforcing the workplace protections we all have, providing support to businesses, and developing our workforce through apprenticeship programs.

In the last year alone, the global pandemic reshaped our economy and put so many Oregonians in impossible situations in housing, work, and family care. The death of George Floyd in May and the subsequent movement for racial, social and economic justice investment have brought important, longstanding issues to the forefront of our national conversation.

This year has made the work the Bureau of Labor and Industries even more urgent, as more people experience difficult times and as bad actors take advantage of hardship to exploit the most vulnerable Oregonians.

For decades, Oregon has not fully invested in the critical work of this agency. The Bureau of Labor and Industries is less than half the size it was 40 years ago. That has disproportionately impacted those who are most likely to experience discrimination and wage theft -- Black people, Latino/a/x people, immigrants, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, small business owners and women.

These investments will help us change that. Thank you, Governor Brown for recommending these critical investments in civil rights and workers’ rights. We look forward to the legislative process and to continuing to do everything we can to serve Oregonians.”


Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

Jump to comments ↓

KTVZ news sources


KTVZ NewsChannel 21 is committed to providing a forum for civil and constructive conversation.

Please keep your comments respectful and relevant. You can review our Community Guidelines by clicking here

If you would like to share a story idea, please submit it here.

Skip to content