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Oregon's economy could be slowing down, state economists say

Forecasters warned there's a possibility of a mild recession at the end of next year.
Credit: Andrew Selsky, AP Photo, File
This Jan. 11, 2018, file photo, shows the state Capitol in Salem, Ore.

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon's recent boom in tax revenue is coming to an end.

That was the message from state economists Wednesday as they delivered the latest revenue forecast. Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that state economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers "not all of this revenue boom is sustainable."

Forecasters said that under an optimistic outlook Oregon will get $600 million more in the current two-year budget cycle than predicted three months ago. The more optimistic scenario is less rosy in future years when it predicts revenue growth will be less than predicted earlier this year. And forecasters warned there's a possibility of a mild recession at the end of next year.

The state does have reserves in the event of an economic slowdown. Those reserves are expected to be more than $2 billion by June 2023.

And state lawmakers have $3.7 billion in revenue they didn't spend in the current budget.

"Thanks to the fiscally responsible decisions the State of Oregon has made over the last several years, we are well positioned with significant reserves to weather any economic challenges that lie ahead," Gov. Kate Brown said in a statement. "Now, we must continue to make investments to benefit Oregon's working families, so that all Oregonians can feel the benefits of our strong economic recovery."

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