Oregon projected to lose $10.5 billion over next five years

MEDFORD, Ore. — Oregon economists say the COVID-19 pandemic could hit hard across the state in the coming years.

“It’s not really a surprise, we fully expected it to be bad news,” State Representative, Kim Wallan said.

A recession may be looming according to state economists after the most recent revenue forecast. Over the next biennium, data is showing a loss of $2.7 billion. It could grow to more than $10 billion over five years if significant changes aren’t made.

“It’s sort of a step by step process, as you get farther out we’re projecting based on what we expect and can reasonably assess as the conditions in place at that time, but our ability to forecast five years out is limited,” State Representative, Pam Marsh said.

Governor Brown has already prepared state agencies to make a 17 percent cut across the board. However, with the help of reserve funds available, both Representatives Wallan and Marsh said those percentages may not cut as deep.

“I think the reality on the ground once we get into the budget work will be much different, I don’t think we’ll be doing across the board cuts like that. I think the cuts to agencies will probably depend on the work of those agencies,” Marsh said.

“There’s a lot of things we do that have some waste in them, so I think it’s a good exercise,” Wallan said. “But I think 17 percent you’re going to get to the bone.”

Wallan said despite this exercise she knows the state isn’t done seeing receipts from the pandemic just yet. But both say in order to change the outlook of this forecast, it starts with efforts over the next two years.

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