Lawmakers: Oregon budget deficits could get worse

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — A bipartisan group of Oregon lawmakers examining the state government's budget problems says the current $1.6 billion deficit is due to short-term and more rooted causes, and unless they are addressed, budget deficits in the future will be even greater.

The group, composed of the Legislature's co-chairs of the Joint Committee On Ways and Means, described in a report Friday structural imbalance between existing revenue streams and the growing costs of providing programs and services to Oregonians.

The group urged action now to contain the growing costs of state government, including a hiring freeze for non-essential positions for the 2017-19 biennium; withholding standard inflationary increases for services and supplies; increasing current and future employees' share in retirement costs for all public employees who belong to the Public Employees Retirement System.

More: Gov. Brown orders hiring freeze as Oregon budget crisis looms

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