Governor John Kitzhaber today predicted that the much anticipated May revenue forecast will show positive economic growth. The May 12 forecast is key because it will be the final set of economic predictions before lawmakers are scheduled to adjourn, meaning most state budgets will be based on those figures. The state has endured a string of downward revenue forecasts over the past two years. The only exception to that trend was last fall, and that was due to a technical change in the way the forecast was calculated and did not represent an actual increase in predicted revenue. So an "up" forecast would be big news, if the governor is correct.
That said, the governor tempered his optimism with this warning: He doesn't want lawmakers to use a higher revenue forecast as an excuse to overlook some of his major policy objectives. "My biggest fear," Kitzhaber said, "is that if the May revenue forecast is up--and I hope it is--that as soon as the economy starts coming back, the appetite for this kind of change to our health care system or our education system will evaporate like a snowball on a skillet."
Kitzhaber made his remarks during a speech this afternoon to the Salem Rotary Club.