Oregon Revenue Forecast Released

Oregon lawmakers will have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend over the next year after another positive economic forecast released Wednesday morning.

Lawmakers were eagerly anticipating the forecast, which came three days into the 35-day legislative session, as they fine-tune plans to spur housing production, boost homeless shelters and expand addiction treatment.

The forecast projects an ending balance of $1.66 billion in June 2025 based on current figures, or $1.34 billion assuming a transfer to the state’s rainy day fund. Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, the Portland Democrat who co-chairs the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, told the Capital Chronicle via text Wednesday that she was still parsing the numbers to determine just how much lawmakers can afford to spend in the current legislative session.

There are plenty of demands for that money. Gov. Tina Kotek is seeking $500 million to spur housing production and help the state meet her goal of building 36,000 homes annually, nearly double the number it’s built in recent years. Her plan will have its first public hearing on Thursday. She also wants another $100 million for homelessness, including $65 million to keep existing shelters operating and $35 million for rent assistance.

Lawmakers working on expanding addiction treatment services haven’t yet shared how much they hope to spend, but growing those services will easily reach tens of millions of dollars, if not more. Just one aspect of the multifaceted plan, expanding transitional housing for people in recovery, carries a tentative price tag of $30 million.

Legislative leaders responded to the forecast with bipartisan cries for using the available money to spur housing and address addiction, though Republicans raised alarms about stagnant population growth. Oregon’s finances are stable now, but the state’s economy relies on new workers moving to Oregon as older workers retire.

(from Oregon Capitol Chronicle)


Posted in Advocacy on the Move, Oregon Advocacy.