SALEM, Ore. – Oregon lawmakers got more gloomy economic news Thursday. State economists said expected revenue dropped another $107 million since the last update three months ago.
It's the second straight triple digit drop since the end of the legislative session in June. The back-to-back hits have already eaten up two-thirds of the cushion lawmakers built into the current budget. And it's not even five months into the two-year budget cycle.
Acting state economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers that Oregon is experiencing anemic growth. At this point, he doesn't expect a return to recession, but he says, "Economists are becoming much, much more pessimistic. And as a whole, that degree of pessimism really can be tied to what extent will Europe's problems derail our recovery and our expansion."
In response to the lower revenue numbers, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber implemented a limited hiring freeze at large agencies. The move is meant to hold onto as much of the budgetary cushion that remains as possible.
State lawmakers say they'll tweak spending plans when they meet in February.
On the Web:
Oregon revenue forecast:
Gov. Kitzhaber's statement:
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