ONTARIO — In addition to the deficit to Oregon’s general fund, the lottery sales which back up the sale of bonds for various projects, such as ConnectOregon which sponsors transportation infrastructure projects, have come up short of covering the projects out there to be funded.
State Sen. Lynn Findley, R-Vale, said the $302 million in projects are funded by bonds which are payed through state lottery revenues.
However, that revenue is significantly lower because of the temporary closure of retail businesses which handle lottery rates, leaving projects unfunded, according to comments made during the virtual town hall meeting hosted jointly by Findley, Rep. Mark Owens, R-Crane, and Rep. Daniel Bonham, R-The Dalles. Owens represents House District 60, and Bonham represents District 59, which together form Findley’s Senate District 30.
A caller into the session from Wallowa County expressed concerns that the unfunded projects, which are important to the county will just go away and that the county will have to reapply. The suggestion was that project be put a on waiting list to be carried out as money becomes available, rather than having to resubmit applications. The lawmakers agreed that would be a solution.
Another special session of the Legislature is projected to occur in August, although it has not been called for by the governor.
Besides the budget deficit, lawmakers want the session to address liability coverage for school districts. This is essential for schools to reopen in the fall, they said.