Lawmakers: 'Good news' on Oregon revenue forecast, belying the struggle of many Oregonians

Governor Kate Brown and leading state lawmakers agreed that Oregon's revenues are looking up, but it obscures the way that many people in the state continue to struggle during the pandemic.

Posted: Feb 24, 2021 4:34 PM
Updated: Feb 24, 2021 4:49 PM

SALEM, Ore. — Governor Kate Brown and leading state lawmakers were in agreement on Wednesday that Oregon's revenues are looking up, but it obscures the way that many people in the state continue to struggle during the pandemic.

The state Office of Economic Analysis delivered its quarterly revenue forecast to the legislature on Wednesday. The report found that total personal income in Oregon "is higher today than it was prior to the pandemic," even though there are 160,000 fewer jobs. Middle and upper-class Oregonians have built up savings, the analysis concluded.

The state labor market is rebounding, but currently remains in a "deep hole." Economists estimated that more than half of the jobs lost could be regained throughout 2021, and the rest by the end of 2022.

"The stage is set for stronger economic growth this year and next than the U.S. has experienced in decades, possibly generations," the agency said. "The combination of increased vaccinations, large and swift federal policy responses, and a more resilient underlying economy, results in a cycle unlike anything experienced before."

According to a statement from Oregon Senate Republicans, that forecast indicated that the state has taken in over $800 million in excess revenue, due in part to federal coronavirus relief funds.

“The state has been bailed out by the federal government," said Senate Republican Leader Fred Girod. "We are looking at billions more coming our way in the coming weeks from Congress and the Biden Administration."

Sen. Girod underlined that the revenue forecast does not reflect how many people in the state are fairing financially, and he was echoed by many of his Democratic colleagues. Girod warned against the legislature instituting new taxes or rollbacks of COVID-19 relief.

"Today’s revenue forecast brings some welcome news, as we see that state revenues are on the rise, making it clearer that the impact of the latest recession on income tax revenue is significantly smaller than we had estimated it to be last spring,” said Governor Kate Brown in a statement. "Even with this good news, it is important to move forward cautiously, as the road ahead remains unpredictable. We also know that many Oregonians are still struggling with job losses, underemployment, and making ends meet."

House Speaker Tina Kotek had a similar message, warning of economic uncertainty in spite of the good news for Oregon's budget.

“We have lost 150,000 jobs during this pandemic. Many low-wage workers will need years to recover, and the recession has only worsened existing income inequality," Rep. Kotek said. "There is still a lot of economic uncertainty going forward, and our recovery will continue to depend on controlling the virus and receiving more help from the federal government."

The Office of Economic Analysis said that tax revenue is high enough that Oregon's "kicker" rebate may come into play.

"However, this kicker credit is far from a sure thing. With one more tax season left in the biennium, much uncertainty remains," the agency said. "During peak tax season, the Department of Revenue has processed more than $170 million of tax payments in a single day. Given the variance seen during our office’s 40 year forecasting record, there is currently a two-in-three chance that a kicker will be triggered when the biennium ends."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 397421

Reported Deaths: 5299
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah61160856
Washington42725408
Marion40378520
Clackamas33323391
Lane30531364
Jackson25267363
Deschutes24034198
Umatilla15178184
Linn15004184
Douglas13635295
Josephine10388249
Yamhill9916145
Klamath9144153
Polk8384103
Benton624440
Malheur594093
Coos5854109
Columbia442156
Jefferson427268
Lincoln369155
Crook345558
Union341857
Wasco320747
Clatsop265835
Baker223133
Tillamook220646
Hood River218637
Morrow198925
Curry194639
Harney121933
Grant109216
Lake106418
Wallowa76513
Sherman1953
Gilliam1854
Wheeler1161
Unassigned00

California Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 5128725

Reported Deaths: 74953
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles153845127262
San Diego4104514351
Riverside3912955388
San Bernardino3784085998
Orange3370455783
Sacramento1699162462
Kern1590231841
Fresno1581872284
Santa Clara1536961933
Alameda1262241514
San Joaquin1084911837
Ventura1049251194
Contra Costa1046451058
Stanislaus923321436
Tulare869791102
San Francisco57458674
San Mateo56861631
Monterey52973626
Solano48014360
Santa Barbara47846555
Merced45506672
Sonoma43609414
Placer42736473
Imperial39148778
Kings35547369
San Luis Obispo31803360
Madera26511315
Shasta26353465
Butte25690320
Santa Cruz22540224
Yolo21792263
Marin18728249
El Dorado18544168
Sutter14691186
Napa13501107
Yuba1084791
Humboldt10360119
Tehama10329133
Nevada10187105
Mendocino873799
Lassen801259
San Benito793980
Tuolumne782691
Lake7073113
Amador583267
Siskiyou480757
Glenn460336
Calaveras449988
Del Norte380442
Colusa329821
Inyo259446
Plumas19679
Mono19274
Mariposa163818
Trinity102117
Modoc7956
Unassigned3820
Sierra2210
Alpine1080
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