May revenue forecast shows increases outpacing strong revenue growth



May revenue forecast shows increases outpacing strong revenue growth

On May 15, the Oregon Legislature delivered the May revenue forecast, which provides the final number upon which the state budget is based. Forecasted revenues for the 2017-2019 biennium are up $187 million from the last forecast, due to continued strong economic performance, resulting in record high revenues for the state. Because revenues for the existing biennium exceed forecasts by the required threshold, the individual kicker will return $408 million back to taxpayers in the form of a credit. The forecasted corporate kicker of $75 million will be deposited in the Education Stability Fund. Despite the additional revenues, and in conjunction with the kicker, the state’s budget deficit for the 2017-2019 biennium is $1.4 billion due to cost increases outpacing strong revenue growth. 
  
In order to balance the state budget, Brighter Oregon, the Oregon Business Plan coalition that the Alliance participates in, is advocating to 1) grow the economy; 2) slow runaway costs in state spending, particularly related to public employee compensation and health care; and 3) consider new revenue tied to specific results, such as improved K-12 and higher education outcomes. Legislators are asked to first close the deficit through spending reform, then engage in conversations about new revenues within the existing tax structure. 
  
Since its launch, Brighter Oregon’s approach to the budget has been supported by editorial boards throughout the state, and has generated hundreds of emails and calls to legislators from their constituents about the importance of the state living within its means to ensure a more sustainable, long-term fiscal solution. Visit www.brighteroregon.com to learn more.