People of Northwest Public Radio
Oregon State Budget
Tue January 31, 2012
Oregon Lawmakers Will Tackle Revenue Shortfall In February Session
SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers return to Salem on Wednesday with a fiscal challenge on their hands. Expected revenues have fallen sharply since the legislature created the current spending plan last summer. As Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports, Lawmakers expect to hear more bad news soon after they arrive back in town.
Oregon lawmakers plan to be at the capitol for about a month. One of the first things they'll do is get the latest predictions about the state's revenue picture.
Republican House Co-Speaker Bruce Hanna says the update isn't expected to contain good news. He says, "If you had your ear to the ground around the building or through anywhere else you'd probably hear numbers in that $50 to $80 million in additional reduction in revenue."
Percentage-wise that would be a very small drop in a budget that was based on about $15 billion in expected revenue. But it would come on the heels of two consecutive drops in tax collections since the close of last year's session. That means lawmakers will have to balance the needs of competing interests as they balance the books, including the need for a healthy reserve in case the economy tanks again.
The legislature is also expected to tackle proposals to continue Governor John Kitzhaber's efforts to overhaul the state's health care and education systems. I'm Chris Lehman in Salem.
Copyright 2012 Northwest News Network