Sen. Bonham Update: Forecast, Kicker, Universal health care

Oregon State Senator Daniel Bonham,

Revenue Forecast and Keeping the Kicker

The Office of Economic Analysis released the most updated revenue forecast. This quarterly forecast timing impacts the Legislature the most since we are in session.

As OPB reported, “The state’s latest revenue forecast suggests lawmakers will have nearly $700 million more to spend in coming years. The state of Oregon is now expected to send nearly $4 billion back to taxpayers next year, as forecast revenues continue to soar past economists’ initial expectations.”

Revenue continues to soar for big government, while hard-working Oregonians are shouldering the burdens of inflation at a rate still above 8 percent. Gas remains at nearly $4 dollars a gallon, making the $5,200 (average per family) Kicker check even more critical.

Watch my floor speech here.

Reading the revenue forecast in its entirety and not relying on just the media for information is valuable. It is prepared by the Office of Economic Analysis (who’s logo is apparently Bigfoot) and offers insight on the state economy. The first paragraph starts off strong: “Either the economic storm clouds have parted, or we are in the eye of the hurricane. Any near-term recession fears are fading with each month of somewhat lower inflation and the continued economic boom. However, the Federal Reserve must still navigate the choppy waters of a tight labor market, fast wage growth, easing financial conditions, and strong household finances and consumer spending. All of these are likely to keep the underlying trend in inflation above the Fed’s target for the foreseeable future.”

Universal Health Care

On February 14-16, I spoke on the Senate Floor about SB 704, a bill that will create a task force to implement the Universal Health Care plan in Oregon that was chosen by the voters in the last election. Watch my combined Floor speeches here.

According to the Oregon Health Authority, 94% or 3.7 million Oregonians already have health care coverage. There are approximately 243,000 uninsured people in Oregon. If 80% of those 243,000 made use of the existing Oregon Health Plan or other subsidies on, the number of Oregonians uninsured would drop to 34,000. That would have state coverage at 99%. This seems like a solution looking for a problem.

The new single-payer universal health care plan has built in $22 billion in new taxes. An employer tax on those Oregonians who earn $160k and below will be taxed at 7.25 percent and those who earn over will be taxed at 10.5 percent.

Next, I pointed out the breakdown of the universal health care costs. The 2021-23 legislative budget for Health and Human Services was $49.5 billion for the entire agency. The projected cost for universal health care is over $54.5 billion and is expected to come from the following:

• $12.9 billion from Medicaid
• $11.8 billion from Medicare
• $1.6 billion “other federal investment”
• $12.3 billion in Employer contribution. This is expected to decrease $170 million from what employers would pay in employee premiums. The intent from this is we won’t have private insurance funded by big corporations. They will be paying into this system for health care to be a “constitutional right”.
• $9.7 billion individual contribution
• $6.4 billion “other state investment”