Experts Predict $183 Million Bump in State Revenue

  State economists informed lawmakers on Wednesday that Oregon’s income tax and other revenues are continuing to exceed expectations. Lottery and general fund revenues are projected to surpass a previous prediction by $183.4 million.   

This means that the state’s revenue expectations could come in at $670 million higher than what economists projected last year as lawmakers sought to finalize the roughly $24 billion general fund and lottery budget.   

WHY THE UPTICK: Economists cite a surge in estate taxes as one reason for the uptick in revenue growth. More residents are leaving behind estates valued around $5 million when they die. But this trend doesn’t account for all of the growth. Increased revenue from lottery and marijuana taxes are also a factor.   

Due to the weakening trends of other economic indicators such as job growth and in-migration, some experts are surprised by this bump in revenue growth. It is yet to be seen whether the windfalls are associated with a long-term trend in tax revenues or a short-term shift in response to President Trump’s 2017 federal tax overhaul.   

HOW TO USE THE DOLLARS: As the money rolls in, questions about what to do with it are on Oregon lawmakers’ minds.  House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland, has emphasized the importance of directing some of the funds toward providing aid to unsheltered Oregonians who are bearing the brunt of a statewide housing crisis.   

In her response to the forecasted revenue growth, Gov. Kate Brown cited a need for responsible investments in wildfire mitigation, earthquake resiliency, and addressing homelessness.      

By J.D. Brookbank