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Oregon Is Sitting On $3.3 Billion In Bad Debt


The Oregon Legislature and Gov. Kate Brown had high hopes on the Department of Revenue to help with the $1.4 billion revenue shortfall only to find that the agency has a long track record of delivering disappointment.

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Lawmakers can’t fully trust the numbers they get from the Oregon Department of Revenue — which collects more than $8 billion a year in taxes — because repeated audits uncovered “significant” and “material weakness” in the agency’s accounting system which means there’s no guarantee the numbers are reliable.

Six times state auditors reviewed Revenue Department’s revenue practices for collecting debts over the years and made recommendations — including some dating back to 1997 — that the agency ignored, according to a 2015 auditors’ report entitled “Oregon Needs Stronger Leadership, Sustained Focus to Improve Delinquent Debt Collection.”

Sen. Betsy Johnson, D-Scappoose, said the Legislature must find a way to prod the agency into better performance.

Read more at the Statesman Journal.

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