Accountants debunk state surplus claim

State accountants say Oregon does not have surplus cash stashed away, as the GOP claims.

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Despite claims from the GOP that Oregon has billions of dollars in surplus cash saved up, state accountants say that’s not true.

But Republican legislators and tax-increase opponents are standing by a report that says the state has $4.4 billion in “ending fund balances,” of which $3.3 billion “was classified as unreserved.”

“I’m always amazed that people could think there’s a pot of gold here that no one knew about except the state controller’s division,” said Kathryn Ross, the statewide accounting and reporting manager in the Department of Administrative Services.

Ross is partly responsible for publishing Oregon’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report, a document that led to charges by Republicans that the state was sitting on large cash reserves at the same time lawmakers were looking to raise taxes on high income earners and corporations.

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