May 22, 2013
May 22, 2013
Replacement Dwelling Bill Poised To Become Law
HB 2746 (Replacement Dwellings) had its first hearing in the Senate Rural Communities and Economic development Committee. The legislation would allow some homes that do not qualify currently to be replaced. These are homes that have fallen into disrepair by suffering roof damage or had internal plumbing or electricity removed. It also makes deferred replacement of a home transferable to family members. To qualify, taxes will be needed to be paid for five years on the home before an application for replacement is filed. A technical amendment is expected on the bill. Otherwise, it should move out of Committee smoothly.
Legislative Deadlines Approaching Again
Last month we saw Legislative deadlines to move bills out of their chamber of origin. This month the Legislature is approaching deadlines to move bills out of their second chamber. This means that any House bills that are being heard in a Senate committee (or vise-versa for Senate bills) need to move out of their committees by Friday, May 31. The deadline to post work sessions on committee agendas is Monday, May 20.
This means if you are following a bill and do not see it on a committee agenda after May 20, then it is dead. The exception to this rule is any bills in Senate and House Rules, Revenue and Joint Ways and Means Committee’s remain “alive” since this deadline does not apply to these committees. This is universally known as the date when all of the policy committees “shutdown.”
It is important that the Legislature have these deadlines so that lawmakers can work to close the legislative session. With no policy committees meeting, legislators turn their intention to writing budgets for state agencies and deciding any major policy questions that remain after the deadlines. The deadline for adjournment is June 29.
May Revenue Forecast Released
On Thursday the most recent, and final, revenue forecast was released. The revenue forecast is an educated guess of what the total state revenue will be at the end of the two year budget cycle. Every three months that number is revised, to adjust to current economic conditions. The May forecast is important because it is the final forecast the Legislature will see in the current budget cycle. Not only is this a good indicator of the financial health of the state, but this will decide weather cuts are needed in state budgets. The new budget cycle begins July 1.
The May forecast predicted an increase of $271 million of additional revenue. This is very good news to Oregon’s overall budget picture. Coincidentally, the additional revenue nearly matches the amount that Democrats’ sought to raise to balance the budget prior to the revenue forecast. The question remains whether legislative leaders continue to look for additional revenue through savings in PERS (Public Employees Retirement System) and tax increases in light of this positive revenue forecast or will they simply plug the “budget gap” with this “windfall” and close the legislative session?
The good news is that Oregon’s economy appears to be on the rebound. State budgets, including the natural resources area, are in good shape with this positive revenue forecast.
To read the executive summary of the revenue forecast, click here. If you would like to read more about the politics and what has been going on this week at the Oregon Legislature in regards to the revenue forecast, PERS reform and taxes, click here to read an Oregonian article.
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