Oregon Legislative Report

Oregon’s March Revenue Forecast was released last week from the Oregon Legislative Fiscal Office, and according to state economist Mark McMullen, revenue is up sharply and is estimated to return to pre-pandemic levels.

Even though there are 160,000 fewer jobs and businesses struggling to survive, economists say that in recent months, those losses have been offset by federal aid, larger businesses’ profits and higher wage earners increased income. While it is too soon to tell, these increases may even mean a personal income tax kicker return for Oregonians.

The new forecast predicts an increase in higher than expected personal income taxes, corporate taxes and lottery revenue. It also seems more likely that a federal aid package for state and local governments could result in billions of additional dollars for the state. We also have healthy reserves thanks to prudent budgeting.

What's next

With this revenue forecast, the Oregon Legislature's Ways and Means Committee will now develop the 2021-23 fiscal year state budget. Even with the improved forecast, budget writers still need to be careful how they allocate the funds.

While the economy has improved, individuals and small businesses are still suffering and are depending on some state-sponsored programs. We must make sure those government programs are adequate and sustainable, because we cannot rely on ongoing federal stimulus money, and we don’t want to end up with no money in reserve.

I’m hoping that the economists are correct when they talk about Oregon’s job growth, they anticipate half of the jobs lost to the pandemic will return this year, and the rest in 2022.

In my experience, Oregonians want to work and provide for themselves and their families, but for now, we need to give them the support they need to get through these uncertain times.

Landlord Compensation Fund

The Oregon Housing and Community Services Department has launched the first application round for the Landlord Compensation fund, which was created when the statewide eviction moratorium was extended.

This is a voluntary program designed to provide relief to residential landlords who have been unable to collect rent due to pandemic-caused tenant hardships. The application portal is accessible here and will be open until 4pm March 2nd

Help Shape The Future

The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) is seeking applicants to fill 68 commissioner seats on 22 of the state’s agricultural and commercial fisheries commodity commissions. The deadline to apply is March 15. For instructions or to learn more about commissions please visit the commodity commissions webpage. At Oregon Commodities Commission.

ODA Director Alexis Taylor appoints commissioners. Once appointed, they work as public officials and most serve three-year terms. Their duties include making decisions about funding on promotion, education, and research projects. Director Taylor is looking for applicants representing the diversity among Oregon's farmers, ranchers, processors, and commercial fisheries. For public members, users of the commodity who have an interest and time to serve are often the best fit.

A public member must be a US citizen, an Oregon resident, and have an active interest in improving economic conditions for the commodity. A public member cannot be directly associated with producing or handling the specific commodity they seek to serve.

Applicants for producer or handler positions must also be a US citizen, an Oregon resident, and have paid or collected the assessment for that particular commodity for the previous three years or longer in some cases. A producer is defined as a grower or harvester. A handler is the first to buy the commodity from the producer and is often a processor, distributor, or marketer.

The following commodity commissions have openings:

  • Albacore Commission – 1 producer, 1 handler
  • Alfalfa Seed Commission – 3 producers, 1 handler
  • Beef Council – 1 beef producer, 1 dairy producer, 1 handler, 1 public member
  • Blueberry Commission – 2 producers, 1 public member
  • Clover Seed Commission – 3 producers, 1 public member
  • Dairy Products Commission –2 producers from Central and Eastern Oregon (Malheur, Baker, Wallowa, Union, Grant, Umatilla, Harney, Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Hood River, Wasco, Morrow, Sherman, Gilliam, Wheeler, and Lake counties)
  • Dungeness Crab Commission – 1 producer, 1 handler, 1 public member
  • Fine Fescue Commission – 3 producers (1 state at large, 2 from Union County), 1 public member
  • Hazelnut Commission – 2 producers, 1 handler
  • Hop Commission – 3 producers
  • Mint Commission – 1 producer, 1 handler
  • Potato Commission – 2 producers (1 from Central Oregon, 1 from the Willamette Valley), 1 Blue Mountain handler
  • Processed Vegetable Commission – 3 producers
  • Raspberry & Blackberry Commission – 1 producer, 1 public member
  • Ryegrass Seed Commission – 2 producers (1 Lane or Benton county, 1 state at large), 1 handler
  • Salmon Commission – 2 producers, 1 handler
  • Sheep Commission – 3 producers
  • Strawberry Commission – 2 producers, 1 handler, 1 public member
  • Sweet Cherry Commission – 2 producers (both from Wasco or Hood River County), 1 public member
  • Tall Fescue Commission – 2 producers, 1 public member
  • Trawl Commission – 1 producer, 1 handler
  • Wheat Commission – 1 producer (Umatilla, Morrow, Gilliam, Sherman, Jefferson, or Wasco county), 1 handler (Willamette Valley)

For more information about Oregon’s Commodity Commissions, or the application process, please contact Kris Anderson, ODA Commodity Oversight Program Manager kanderson@oda.state.or.us 503-970-3260.

Stay Engaged

Due to the COVID-19 health protection restrictions, the Capitol building remains closed to the public. Committee work is being done remotely, and the public is still able to weigh in on bills and other issues. This can be done in writing, by phone or by computer link-up. It has never been more important to be a part of the process.

If you have concerns or comment about a state issue, agency or proposed legislation, please contact my office. It is my privilege to represent you in the House of Representatives as we undertake this important work together.

Rep. Brad Witt serves House District 31. He may be reached at:

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