SALEM — The severity of state budget cuts comes into sharper focus this week, when economists tell the Legislature how much tax money they think Oregon will collect.
The last two quarterly revenue forecasts have delivered disappointing news, forcing legislative leaders to recommend layoffs of state workers, the closure of a prison and smaller paychecks for workers who provide in-home care to seniors and people with disabilities.
Nobody’s expecting to see an influx of money when the projections are released Tuesday, and a sharp decline would force legislators back to the negotiating table in search of more service cuts to close a budget gap that’s already expected to be at least $200 million.
Whatever the new forecast shows, the estimate is needed before the Legislature can press ahead with efforts to get the budget back in balance.
Lawmakers have already been under pressure from interest groups fighting proposed cuts, and that pressure is likely to intensify this week as budget votes draw nearer.
“I expect there will be a lot of interests that come in and aren’t satisfied,” said Sen. Richard Devlin, D-Tualatin, a lead budget negotiator.
Previous revenue forecasts have projected that Oregon will take in $300 million less than lawmakers assumed when they finalized the $14.6 billion two-year budget last summer.
The co-chairs’ budget-balancing proposal assumes this week’s forecast will lop off another $50 million to $80 million, so a downward forecast in that range wouldn’t require lawmakers to start over, said Rep. Peter Buckley, D-Ashland.
Buckley said he was optimistic that Oregon will see job growth on par with positive national figures released Friday. Companies added 243,000 jobs in January, far more than economists expected, and unemployment fell to its lowest rate in three years. The lack of a sales tax means Oregon’s revenue is highly dependent on personal income taxes, which benefit from people having work.
From his position at the back of the group of armored vehicles, Derek Butenhoff saw the cloud of smoke, and then all radio communication was momentarily lost. It was day three of a four-day bomb-seeking mission in southern Afghanistan. Butenhoff ran to the smoking combat vehicle. Inside, he found his best friend: Alex Johnson, a 19-year-old soldier from Madras. “The truck was on its side,…
McMINNVILLE — Dozens of local veterans are featured in a new book created by U. S. history students at McMinnville High School. “An Interview with History: A Unique Collection of Wartime Experiences” started as an oral history collaboration between teacher Francesca Morrison’s class and the Yamhill County Historical Society. But with help from the Evergreen Aviation&Space Museum and a number of individuals — including the…
The holiest plant of the Christmas season may be a raggedy shrub with peeling bark that seems to grow best in a dusty backyard in Tempe, Ariz. This is Boswellia sacra, better known as the frankincense tree. The shrub’s gum resin is one of the three biblical gifts that the wise men bestowed on the infant Jesus. Until recently, Americans who wished to cultivate their…
FRESNO, Calif. — Federal law now allows visitors to carry guns in national parks, but you can’t just slip a loaded pistol into your backpack and take a hike. Pay attention, because this is a little complicated. You will need a concealed weapons permit to carry the loaded gun in the backpack. But you don’t need any kind of permit if you just want to…
Q: Why do some vegetables, such as cooked diced carrots, spark when I reheat them in the microwave?A: Microwaves work by sending out electromagnetic waves that vibrate the water, fat and sugar molecules in food, creating heat. The microwave generates an electric field, but the intensity of the electricity varies throughout the microwave. When you cut a carrot into small pieces and heat them in…