Business closures and mass unemployment caused by the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in a massive hit to Oregon’s tax revenue.
A special report from NPR focused on the budget crisis caused by COVID-19, and provided a breakdown by state. State tax revenue has been impacted across the U.S., falling 29 percent nationwide, but Oregon experienced an even worse loss, falling 53 percent as compared to this time last year.
The state is currently expecting $2.7 billion less than what legislators had originally planned, with further shortages expected. Fortunately, the state has protected reserve funds for such economic troubles.
In order to determine where those funds are most needed, Gov. Kate Brown has required state agencies to present budget cuts of 17 percent. Another proposed cut could mean the closure of two state prisons – Shutter Creek and Warner Creek Correctional Facilities.
Brown was holding out for a second Congressional relief package before eventually calling lawmakers into session on Aug. 10. In March, Congress swiftly passed the CARES Act, a relief fund worth $2 trillion. Congress has not approved an extension of this Act, as conservative lawmakers dig their heels in against more federal relief for the states.