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Lawmakers face a $1.6 billion gap between projected income and anticipated spending this year.

Democratic leaders of the Oregon House have proposed a new tax on business sales, but less than what voters defeated last fall, with $2.1 billion in net proceeds targeted to education and social spending in the next two years.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: PETER WONG - Rep. Phil Barnhart, from left, House Speaker Tina Kotek and Rep. Nancy Nathanson speak about linkage of a new business tax to targeted education and social spending to a joint legislative committee on Thursday, May 4, in Salem

House Speaker Tina Kotek of Portland and leaders of the budget and tax committees say their plan — coupled with cost-saving measures and other spending cuts — would balance the next state budget and boost education spending as advocated by business groups.

"I doubt we can grow this economy, continue to maintain growth and grow our workforce without these types of investments," Kotek said Thursday (May 4) to a joint committee considering new taxes.

"Does another generation of students have to wait while the grownups figure it out?"

Lawmakers face a $1.6 billion gap between projected income and anticipated spending, although the Oregon Health Plan for low-income people accounts for a chunk of that and renewed taxes on hospitals and health plans could narrow that amount.

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