Agencies expect to lose hundreds of thousands in funding


Capital Press

SALEM -- State agencies were bracing for the Aug. 26 revenue forecast earlier this week, expecting a range of news from bad to worse.

An Aug. 17 memo to state agency directors from the Department of Administrative Services warned that the late-August revenue forecast could be $200 million to $500 million below previous projections, due to falling state tax receipts.

The anticipated revenue decline comes on top of a $577 million shortfall announced in June, putting the state shortfall for the current biennium anywhere from $777 million to more than $1 billion.

Lauren Henderson, assistant director for the Oregon Department of Agriculture, said if the Aug. 26 forecast shows a shortfall of $200 million, the department stands to lose $250,000 in general funds for the remainder of the biennium under across-the-board reductions.

If the shortfall reaches $500 million, ODA would lose $560,000.

The cuts would come on top of $652,203 ODA lost in general funds under across-the-board cuts Gov. Ted Kulongoski administered after the June revenue forecast.

Henderson said the agency will do what it can to avoid layoffs.

"We always try to do that," Henderson said. "We did avoid layoffs in June."

ODA started the biennium with a general fund budget of $14.2 million and a total budget of $85.8 million.

The Oregon Water Resources Department said it may have to cut staff to meet its budget reductions.

Under a $200 million shortfall, the department would be down $300,000 in general funds in its current operating budget. Under a $500 million shortfall, the reduction would reach $800,000.

The department was able to meet past budget reductions this biennium by leaving open staff vacancies. That may not be possible this time, department spokeswoman Brenda Bateman said.

"We may have to start moving into options we weren't anticipating making until the 2011-13 biennium, and those are cuts in staff," she said.

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