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Legislative Update

September 23, 2020 12:40 PM | OMBA Admin (Administrator)

Revenue Forecast-

The Senate and House Revenue Committees met jointly on the morning of 9/23 to present the quarterly economic revenue forecast. The last forecast given in June was dire due to the mandated shutdowns of much of the State’s economy and more broadly the nation as well. This quarterly forecast was drastically different.  While the economy isn’t in the best shape, tax collections have yet to show significant impacts. Compared to the presentation three months ago, things are not quite as bad as previously thought.  I believe the last forecast was the absolute worst case scenario that didn’t actually happen. Revenues are up significantly from the last forecast but remain lower than pre-COVID forecasts. We now expect to end the biennium (19’-21’) like we did in March. So in the short term things look ok. We have about $1.7B which could be applied to the next biennium, but we are still waiting to feel the impacts of initial job losses. Initially,  in the last forecast, the prediction of a 21% job loss and a four year recovery, however it now appears actual losses are about 14% and we are looking at three years to get back to the pre-recession levels. In real numbers, this means our revenue forecast compared to June is up $1.9B which equates to a positive number of $473M from the close of session but are still down from our highest forecast from prior to the session earlier this year.   These changes in numbers from the last forecast come from federal stimulus dollars like PPP that helped keep people employed and increased our personal and corporate tax collection.   Lottery dollars projections are also up from the last forecast by $150m.  Just as a side note, even with this projection we are still down by approximately $500 million from where we say during the February Session of this year.  We can only assume our forecasts for the remainder of the fiscal year will bounce around quite a bit.

 

Privacy-

The AG’s office is still waiting to get their drafts back from Legislative Counsel.  They also have not decided whether or not to introduce anything next session due to the pandemic and not knowing what our legislative session will look like next year.  On Friday the AG will be presenting to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees with an update on the potential legislation, but there won’t be much new information since they are still waiting to get language back from LC.  Also, there is a staffing change in the AG’s office and Kate Dickson is now the new lead on this issue.  She has been involved from day one, and any of you that have met with the AG’s office on this topic will know her from those meeting.  Cheryl Hiemstra the former lead staff person has decided to take a different job within the AG’s office that is more hands on in the litigation world.  Once draft language is available we will make sure to get it out to everyone.

 

OSHA Temporary COVID-19 rules-

OSHA is still planning to release there final version of their temporary rule this week with an effective date sometime before the middle of October.  It sounds like there should be several key changes from the earlier drafts that have been seen.  One key change will likely be the removal of the two week paid leave requirement.  OSHA received approximately 1500 comments on the draft rules.  Once the temporary rules are adopted, OSHA will continue conversation on what a permanent rule will look like with the idea of adopting that in early spring.

 

Campaign Update-

Fall is officially here and with that, campaigns are in full swing. While election day is now only several weeks away now, that is a lifetime away for individual races as much can happen. National storylines, and happenings at the top of the ticket have the potential to impact down the ticket races much more in presidential election years. At this point, it seems unlikely we will see a big swing in current make up of our state legislature however there are a handful of races which are going to be close. In the Senate, the three swing seats are out along the Coast, in West/South Salem, and out in Bend. Republicans currently hold the Bend and Salem seat, and at this point are favored to hold those seats. Out on the coast, long-time Senator Arnie Roblan has decided to retire so this seat is open for the first time in a long time. Given that fact, and demographic shifts Republicans have a chance to flip that seat. While the numbers in the Senate are only expected to swing one way or the other by one seat, if the Republicans can pick up that seat they would have 13 members and thus Democrats would no longer have a supermajority (if the R’s hold the other two seats). Likewise in the House, there are only three to four seats that are going to decide a shift one way or another. Seats in Bend, Hood River, McMinnville, South Salem, North and South Coast will be the most competitive. Currently Democrats hold 38 or 60 seats, but the two coast seats specifically are more competitive than they have been in a long time and have the potential to flip from Blue to Red. We will be sure to update you as it gets closer to election day, but be sure much will likely happen between now and then. If anyone has any specific questions please let us know.


Please let us know if you have questions

 

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