MEDIA CONTACT: Nathaniel Brown, communications director
Oregon Business & Industry Responds to May 2021 Economic Forecast
The May revenue forecast, released today, shows that Oregon’s state tax collections are at a record high, and that is expected to continue for the next several years. With billions in federal aid on the way and these astonishingly strong tax collections flowing to state coffers, Oregon lawmakers have more than enough money to balance the existing budget and create a reasonable spending plan for the next fiscal biennium.
Lawmakers should immediately close the books on discussions of tax increases in any form. With businesses just now getting back on their feet after the devastating impacts of the COVID shutdowns and other challenges over the last 15 months, the focus should be on providing assistance to business owners who lost money over the last year and Oregonians who lost their jobs. New taxes and unnecessary regulations should be off the table.
The abundant state tax collections and strong revenue picture also means the state can dial back the urgency to quickly spend all of the federal money coming to Oregon as a result of the federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).
The ARPA funds present a tremendous opportunity for state leaders to invest in significant projects that could transform the economy and achieve greater shared prosperity. These dollars will go even further if the state works with local governments, school districts and other entities receiving ARPA funds to identify common objectives and joint projects. This will take time. While some immediate investments of the ARPA money may make sense, we urge lawmakers to slow down and spend time carefully investigating longer-term investment opportunities before finally deciding how this money will be deployed in Oregon.