No Oregon Recession, but no Kicker in 2009.
Lawmakers will have about $180 million less to spend in the current fiscal cycle than they thought just two months ago, according to new figures released Friday from state economists.
That's even more than lawmakers had budgeted for in their worst-case scenario, and suggests that the monthlong session that began Monday won't include much in the way of new funding for state programs.
The decline comes thanks to a swift drop in corporate income tax revenue, which is $62 million less than economists had predicted when lawmakers left Salem last June.
Friday's gloomy economic forecasts means that Oregon taxpayers won't see a personal income tax kicker check in 2009, after getting the largest checks in the state's history last December.
Still, state economist Tom Potiowsky said Oregon will probably escape the worst of a potential national recession, especially since the state has been relatively shielded from the housing industry meltdown. Instead, Potiowsky predicted that Oregon is likely to face extremely sluggish growth in personal income statewide.
And Rep. Phil Barnhart, D-Eugene, who chairs the House Revenue Committee, said it's not likely that schools, health programs, public safety and other state-funded programs will face serious budget cuts like the ones played out across Oregon in 2002 and 2003.
That's because there's still some unspent money left in the budget, though it's just $28 million, instead of the $206 million that lawmakers thought they had left over.
Lawmakers had hoped to set aside 1 percent of the $14 billion state budget, or about $140 million, in a so-called rainy-day fund established in the 2007 session. But those plans now seem out of reach, and there's some question about whether proposals to put new money into state police and land use reform will be able to move forward.