Oregon revenue drops sharply, rips $563 million hole in state budget
By Harry Esteve
SALEM — Oregon’s stubbornly bad economy has left a huge hole in the state budget, distressed lawmakers learned today — $563 million that must be cut from schools and other programs over the next year unless more money comes in.
The figure was reported during the quarterly economic and revenue forecast, delivered minutes ago to a somber gathering of House and Senate revenue committees.
The bad financial news means that either Gov. Ted Kulongoski or the Legislature must take steps to balance the current two-year budget, which goes to the end of June 2011.
If the cuts are proportional across all state agencies, public schools would lose about $230 million — a situation that could lead to layoffs, bigger class sizes or a shortened school year next year.
Kulongoski has scheduled a noon news conference at which he is expected to argue against a special legislative session, leaving the budget-balancing task to him and his staff.