SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon faces an 11% drop in state revenue from the previous biennium as the coronavirus pandemic triggered a shutdown order and a consequent drop in tax payments, state economists reported Wednesday.
General Fund and other major revenues have been reduced relative to the March forecast by $2.7 billion in the current biennium and $4.4 billion in the 2021-23 budget period, state economist Josh Lehner said. (Read the full forecast report here.)
Lehner said the current recession is the deepest on record in Oregon, with data going back to 1939, but is expected to be shorter in duration than the Great Recession.
“The economy should return to health by mid-decade,” Lehner said.
Gov. Kate Brown said, “We have tough choices ahead.”
“We will need to tighten our belts. I am working with legislative leaders to preserve critical state services, find efficiencies, and prepare for potential budget cuts,” the Democratic governor said.
Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod blamed Brown for the economic fallout.
“Governor Brown’s insistence to keep Oregon’s economy shut down, despite flattening the curve weeks ago, has cost Oregon billions of dollars of revenue, impacting generations to come,” Girod said. “This revenue loss could have been mitigated if the governor had been a leader and opened our state weeks ago.”
State medical officers said the shutdown orders, which were relaxed in a first phase for almost half of the state’s population last week, were needed to prevent the highly contagious coronavirus from spreading and claiming more lives. The known death toll is currently about 140 in a state of 4.2 million.
Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, said it is important to prioritize investments in education, the health and safety of Oregonians and the resources and programs necessary to help pull the state out of this public health and economic crisis.
“There are extensive challenges ahead as we begin down the lengthy road to recovery,” Burdick said.
Brown said the state needs more help from the federal government, through Congress and President Donald Trump, to help bridge the budget gap
“Now it’s time for Congress and the president to step up and provide once-in-a-century support for important state services, including schools, health care, and public safety,” the governor said.
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Governor Kate Brown Statement on May Revenue Forecast
(Portland, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today issued the following statement about the State of Oregon May revenue forecast:
“From the outset of this pandemic, it has been clear that the need for critical state services would far outstrip our resources as a state. Working Oregon families are counting on us to deliver COVID-19 emergency response efforts, while also ensuring public health, public safety, housing assistance, food assistance, unemployment insurance, and so many more essential state government functions continue uninterrupted.
“The latest forecast for state revenue makes it clear that we have tough choices ahead. We will need to tighten our belts. I am working with legislative leaders to preserve critical state services, find efficiencies, and prepare for potential budget cuts.
“Make no mistake, the budget gap created by this pandemic is too large to bridge without additional Congressional action. I am thankful for the work of our congressional delegation to secure federal funding for Oregon in the relief packages Congress has passed so far. But those funds only address a fraction of our current need, especially since we are not permitted to use the funding we have received so far to address state budget shortfalls.
“As a state, we took action to shutter our economy in order to save lives in the middle of a once-in-a-century crisis. Now it’s time for Congress and the President to step up and provide once-in-a-century support for important state services, including schools, health care, and public safety.”
House Republican Leader Statement on Revenue Forecast
SALEM, Ore. – House Republican Leader Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement on today’s revenue forecast:
“Oregon families are hurting and have been forced to make significant budget cuts. Now the state must take reasonable actions to bring the budget in line with declining revenues. The best approach going forward is for the legislature to do all we can to support a full economic recovery for hardworking Oregon families across this state, who were disproportionately harmed by the governor’s executive shutdown orders.”
Statement by House Speaker Tina Kotek on June 2020 Economic and Revenue Outlook
“Today’s challenging forecast was expected given the devastating toll the coronavirus pandemic has taken on the Oregon and national economies. The state will rebalance its budget carefully and strategically.
“We must remember that budgets are not just numbers on a spreadsheet. Budgets are about people, our communities, and our collective well-being. We need to take the lessons learned from the Great Recession and do more to protect vulnerable Oregonians and rebuild an economy that promotes success for everyone.
“Fortunately, our state is in a far better financial position than it was at the start of the Great Recession. We have strong reserves that should be tapped early to avoid additional damage to our economy. I also believe increased bonding for public infrastructure will help to jumpstart the economy and put people back to work.
“Together, Oregon will survive this challenge and thrive again soon.”
|June Revenue Forecast Statement from House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner|
|SALEM, Ore. – House Majority Leader Barbara Smith Warner (D-Portland) issued the following statement on the June revenue forecast released earlier today: |
“These are unprecedented times for our state and nation. Across Oregon, families are suffering and people are scared about the future. In the coming weeks and months, we will do all that we can to find creative solutions to minimize impacts on the critical services that Oregonians are counting on now more than ever, including health care and education. We will do this with an eye toward equity and ensuring the resources we have are getting to the areas where they are needed most. Fortunately, thanks to prudent fiscal management over the years by Democratic leadership, Oregon is the most prepared it has ever been to weather an economic downturn. Together, we will get through this.”
Statement from Labor Commissioner Val Hoyle on Revenue Forecast
“This news is unprecedented in our lifetimes. It’s not surprising after the drastic steps we’ve had to take to weather this global pandemic for more than two months.
These numbers show the beginnings of the impact the pandemic will have on Oregonians, our small businesses, and our economy for years to come. It’s incredibly sobering. There are no easy solutions.
We need to have thoughtful and inclusive decision-making on the state budget as soon as possible to begin to support workers and businesses, ensure access to critical state services, and move our state forward in a responsible way. The legislature should meet as soon as possible for a special session to make these decisions.
I stand ready to work with the Governor, legislators, and other elected officials across the entire state to rebuild Oregon’s economy. Workers, businesses, and all of our residents are depending on us to come together and find a path forward.”
Statement from OEA President John Larson on Revised Budget Forecast
PORTLAND, OR — Today, following the release of the Oregon Department of Revenue’s revised revenue forecast, Oregon Education Association President John Larson released the following statement:
“The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear that Oregon’s neighborhood public schools and colleges not only play a vital role in the education of our state’s students, but also in keeping our state’s economy moving forward. That is why, despite today’s difficult revenue forecast, it’s absolutely critical that state lawmakers do everything in their power to ensure Oregon schools will have the resources they need to safely reopen their doors to students this upcoming academic year,” said OEA President John Larson.
“Safely reopening Oregon schools will require the state to make additional investments in our K-12 and college education systems, and certainly cannot be achieved through severe budget cuts and layoffs. Oregon decision makers must prioritize securing additional federal support, tapping into budget reserves, and enacting creative cost-saving solutions in order to protect our schools from cuts that will only make it harder for our state to climb out of this deep recession.”
Becky Hultberg, President and CEO of the Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, released the following statement in response to the state’s revenue forecast.
“Today’s state revenue forecast presents grim news, as the public health crisis gripping the state has rippled through our economy and decimated state revenue. As the Governor and Legislature grapple with this budget reality, now is not the time to reduce investments in health care. Rather – because hospitals drive positive health outcomes and promote economic activity – the investments we make now in our hospitals, health care workforce, and coverage for vulnerable Oregonians will help lead our economic recovery while we continue to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Our community hospitals have been there for Oregon, and state leaders now have a chance to support local hospitals by prioritizing health care funding. We are committed to being strong partners with policymakers as we work together to solve our shared challenges.”