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The Forecast

Oregon is expect to see a $10.5 billion dollar revenue loss over the next five years triggered by the COVUD-19 pandemic, according to the financial forecast released by state administrators on Wednesday, May, 20.

"It is clear that Oregon is in a recession and that the downturn will be severe," the Revenue Outlook reads. "Although there is still a great deal of uncertainty surrounding the outlook, the forecast represents an attempt to tear the proverbial Band-Aid off all at once by reflecting the full severity of the revenue downturn."

See the Oregon Revenue Forecast and slide show presentation attached to this story.

The Chief reported earlier that school districts, cites, counties and state agencies were preparing for a significant loss of funding triggered by the pandemic that caused a sudden stop of the Oregon economy.

State Representative Brad Witt is calling for a special session of the Oregon Legislature to deal with the steep state revenue decline.

"I strongly believe that a Special Session of the Oregon Legislature needs to be convened to take up these important budgetary issues," Witt said. "Oregon has received $1.39 billion through the federal CARES act, and we have $1.6 billion in reserves. The decisions on how to best allocate these billions of dollars and determining the necessary budget cuts in the interest of our state and citizenry should now go to the people’s elected representatives… the sooner the better."

Governor Kate Brown issued the following statement about the State of Oregon 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 Christine Drazan (R-Canby) released the following statement concerning the Oregon 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.”

The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems CEO and president  Becky Hultberg released the following statement concerning the 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.”

The Oregon Economic Forecast provides information to planners and policy makers in state agencies and private organizations for use in their decision making processes. The Oregon Revenue Forecast opens the revenue forecasting process to public review. It is the basis for much of the budgeting in state government. The forecast reports are issued four times a year in March, June, September, and December.

Follow impact developments here online and in the Friday print editions of the Chief.

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