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Blog: Big news coming from Salem next week
Photos and Story by Dana Haynes
There’s a lot we don’t know about the 2009-11 budget. But next week will answer many of those questions.
We should see the next assessment of Oregon’s unemployed as early as Monday. The last time the jobless count was released, it hit the Capitol like a wrecking ball. At 12.1 percent unemployed, Oregon’s was, briefly, the highest in the nation (Michigan eclipsed us three days later, but we remained the second highest for weeks).
What will this next round of unemployment figures reveal? We don’t know. If the state has continued to slough off jobs at the same rate we did last quarter, it will be disastrous.
Our state budget relies so very heavily on income tax that you can draw a very close correlation between unemployment and the state’s revenue shortfalls.
Which brings us to the second big report we’ll get next week: the state economist’s revenue forecast. That comes on Friday but could be leaked by legislators or their staffs on Wednesday or Thursday.
Oregon went from about $15.9 billion to about $13 billion in revenue between December 2008 and March 2009. That was dreadful. If we drop by the same amount – another $3 billion – we will be in for some very tough times in Oregon.
I’ll be down in Salem quite a bit this coming week and will keep people posted on what I hear.
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