Oregon lawmakers react to state’s new economic outlook

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(The Center Square) – The Oregon Office of Economic Analysis released its December revenue forecast and economic outlook to state legislators this week.

The report said the economy is rebalancing, the Federal Reserve has not cooled inflation as quickly as it hoped, but it will likely begin cutting interest rates in the second half of 2024.

Locally, it said the state’s revenue is stable, though the personal income tax kicker credit is something state lawmakers will have to consider. However, long-term, the report is more pessimistic. As older Americans leave the workforce, the state will not see revenue growth at the rates it has in the past, according to the report.

Oregon Governor Tina Kotek reacted to the report with optimism.

“Oregon’s economy is continuing to stabilize, and that is good news for working families and businesses across our state,” she said in a press release. “To keep our economy moving in the right direction, we need to address core issues for Oregonians. Housing production, the addiction crisis, and access to child care are at the top of the list. I look forward to working with legislators in the upcoming 2024 session to make progress for Oregonians on these issues and more.”

Senate Majority Leader Kate Lieber, D-Beaverton, shared in that optimism.

“It’s great to see that Oregon’s economy is stabilizing and the pressure from inflation should be easing up,” she said. “Now, we need to make sure this data matches up to reality for Oregonians in every corner of the state.

“In 2024, we will be laser-focused on the issues that seriously impact quality of life in Oregon, like building more housing Oregonians can actually afford, taking on the drug crisis to keep people safe and save lives, and making it easier to work and grow a business here,” she continued.

“We know there may still be uncertainty ahead, which is why I’m counting on all my colleagues to show up and do their job in 2024 so we can make Oregonians’ lives better now and keep our economy strong in the future,” she concluded.

Yet, not everyone shared in that optimism.

House Republican Leader Jeff Helfrich, R-Hood River, expressed worry about the state’s future economic outlook.

“Population in Oregon is stagnating as people flee – and choose not to move near – the drugs and crime Oregon is rapidly becoming known for,” he said, according to KOIN. “This will have long-term consequences on revenues, which will further strain resources needed to address critical needs. Pretending things are fine is not a solution, and we need bipartisan buy-in to reverse this troubling trend. During the upcoming short session, the House Republican Caucus will support legislation to make our state a safer, more affordable place to live and do business.”

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