Oregon’s economic outlook is looking brighter. That’s according to state economists, who issued their quarterly revenue forecast Thursday. The news comes as lawmakers get ready to put together the state’s next two-year spending plan.
The slow and steady improvement is still steady, just not quite as slow. The overall growth rate is still a bit behind past expansions, but state economist Mark McMullen says some of the factors holding back Oregon’s economy are looking better, such as jobs and the housing market.
“We expect our growth, the growth rate of Oregon, in terms of economic output and employment and the like, to pick up, to be a little better than the lackluster slow gains we’ve seen since the beginning of 2010.”
McMullen is predicting a roughly 1 percent increase — more than $150 million — in the amount of money available for lawmakers to spend, compared to previous outlooks. What’s not clear is whether it’s enough to forestall talk of tax increases by the legislature. Democrats say all options are still on the table. Republicans repeated their stance that tax hikes are a non-starter without additional cuts to the state’s public pension system. [I’m Chris Lehman in Salem.]
On the Web:
Oregon revenue forecast - Office of Economic Analysis