According to the Co-Chairs’ budget framework for the 21-23 biennium – they are aiming to use American Rescue Plan funds to help the state protect current programs and services from drastic reductions and to increase investments in critical new programs and services.
At this moment Oregon faces a shortfall of $1.7 billion for the 21-23 biennium. The Co-Chairs currently plan to use half – or $1.3 billion – of the $2.6 billion the state government will receive from the American rescue plan to fill the shortfall. They then plan to cut 1% across the board to cover the rest of the shortfall. As for the remaining $1.3 billion, one potential plan is to put 30% ($780 million) towards investment in new programs and 20% ($520 million) in a 2024 reserve.
There is no doubt that there will be a robust debate about how to use these American Rescue Plan funds. Some will say that the proposed plans are fiscally responsible. Others will say that the money should be spent right now to help struggling Oregonians and avoid across the board service cuts. Of course, the budget is always a work in progress and some decisions will need to await information from the May Economic and Revenue forecasts, community and legislative hearings, federal funding, and other public input. We’ll keep you in the loop as the budget process moves along and heads towards final consideration.
We’re also keeping a close eye on the Biden administration's proposed infrastructure plan and what it will mean for Oregon and our economy. We’ll keep you up to date on that plan as it makes its ways through Congress.