In the official revenue forecast released by the state Wednesday Oregon is expected to see a $10.5 billion loss over the course of the next 5 years.
Earlier this month Gov. Kate Brown projected a $3 Billion shortfall in revenue in this current two-year budget cycle, and braced state agencies to see a 17% budget cut for next fiscal year, starting July 1st.
The state unemployment rate has skyrocketed to 14.2% as of April, with almost 400,000 individuals filing unemployment claims in just the last 60 days. The projection from Wednesday could result in funding cuts in education, law enforcement, and many other programs. The state has amassed a $1.6 billion Rainy Day Fund and Education Stability Fund over the last decade, which will help soften the blow of the upcoming downturn. Brown, along with many other governors has called on President Trump and Congress to give more financial assistance to states.
Below is Gov. Brown’s statement on Wednesday’s revenue projection:
“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.”
By Sam Schultz