Brown tells Oregon agencies to prepare for 17% budget cut

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon Gov. Kate Brown has directed state agencies to prepare for a 17% budget cut due to cratering tax revenues because of the coronavirus outbreak.

“Whether the state will need to implement this level of cuts will be dependent on several factors, most importantly the need for additional federal funding to support state services, including our K-12 public school system,” Brown said in a statement Monday.

The next revenue forecast for Oregon is May 20 and the Democratic governor had previously said she was “gravely concerned” about the state’s ability to deliver basic services in the coming months.

Oregon’s economy was booming before the arrival of COVID-19, with unemployment rates at record lows and a $1.5 billion tax surplus. The general fund budget for 2019-2021 is currently about $25 billion.

More than 3,200 people have tested positive for the coronavirus in Oregon and at least 130 have died.

The virus causes mild to moderate symptoms in most patients, and the vast majority recover. But it is highly contagious and can cause severe illness and death in some patients, particularly the elderly and those with underlying health conditions.

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