AOC addressed the Joint Ways & Means Capital Construction Subcommittee on February 23rd to again highlight a nagging issue for counties.
Under ORS 461.547, counties receive 2.5 percent of net receipts (after payment of prizes) from video lottery games. Ninety percent of these funds are distributed to each county in proportion to gross receipts from video lottery games from each county. Ten percent are distributed in equal amounts to each county. These funds are dedicated for economic development projects, investments urgently needed by counties.
The 2011 Legislature suspended the statutory formula calculation for the 2011-13 biennium to provide counties with a fixed funding amount based on the May 2011 revenue forecast of 2.5 percent of video lottery sales minus one-half the cost of administration of Regional Solutions. The 2013 and 2015 Legislatures followed the same practice for their current biennium.
AOC requested that this practice stop, that the Legislature remove the allocation for the 2015-17 biennium, and that ORS 461.547 be permitted to operate.
The loss in 2013-15 of nearly $2.3 million of economic development funds due to allocation, and the very real potential of losing another $2.9 million in 2015-17, caused AOC to urge the return to the original statutory deal. This revenue source has its ups and downs, but it is what counties agreed to and – over the long-term – will bring more resources to badly needed county economic development projects.
Ways & Means Co-Chair Senator Richard Devlin agreed to deal with this issue before the budget for 2015-17 is sealed.
Contributed by: Gil Riddell | AOC Policy Director