November 19th, 2010 5:33 pm | by NIGEL JAQUISS News | Posted In: CLEAN UP, Politics, Legislature

Oregon's Quarterly Revenue Forecast: Bleeding Stops, At Least For Now

Oregon budget problems

Oregon's quarterly revenue forecast has been a day of doom for the past nine quarters. In each case, state economist Tom Potiowsky told lawmakers projections were worse than previously thought.

Today's forecast brings that nine-quarter losing streak to an end. The forecast today calls for an increase of $119 million from the September forecast.

That's much better news than another decline. But it's not much reason for celebration: nearly half the increase—$57 million—comes from a one-time influx provided by tax deadbeats taking advantage of an amnesty offer by the state. And the rest of the increase comes from a technical change in the way the state collects withholding taxes. But at least the large downward revisions have stopped for now. Lawmakers will still be dealing with massive cuts in January however: projected revenue for the biennium still stands at $1.15 billion less than forecast at the end of the 2009 session.

From the report:
The forecast for total personal income tax receipts during the current biennium was increased $97.7 million from the September forecast. If not for the upcoming changes to the personal income tax withholding formulas, the forecast would have been revised downward.

Gov. Ted Kulongoski, in a statement, continued to hammer at the need to create jobs and change the way Oregon operates.
"Longer term, our challenges persist - and we must continue to proceed and budget with prudence, as well as focus on job creation. Last month's announcement of a major expansion by Intel and this week's improved jobs report are steps in the right direction. But we cannot be satisfied with a slow-growth recovery.

"Also, it will be a mistake to treat the additional revenue forecasted for this biennium as a windfall. We should use that revenue to help address what will now be a $3.5 billion shortfall in the next budget period. The need to "reset" our budget is now all the more compelling.

"In the weeks ahead, I will continue to work with the legislature and with Governor-elect Kitzhaber to better position the state to address the tough decisions that confront us in the next budget period and to continue to improve our economy in the years ahead."
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