Oregon taxpayers could get a kicker as state revenue exceeds expectations

An improved revenue stream for the state could allow a refund that comes in the form of a tax credit.

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An improved economy could trigger a “kicker” for Oregon taxpayers, economists believe.

Revenue collected by the state should surpass the Office of Economic Analysis’ projections, which would allow for a refund that comes in the form of a 2015 tax credit.

The Statesman Journal explained why the state’s taxpayers could be seeing the reimbursement:

Oregon’s kicker law, which requires a tax rebate when the state’s general fund grows at least 2 percent larger than projected, hasn’t been used since 2007 when the economy was booming. …

This will be the first year the corporate tax kicker will go to schools rather than back to companies. Voters passed Measure 85 in 2012 that redirected that money to K-12 education, but there has not been a kicker since then. Oregon is unique in using this policy. It creates some ambiguity in the economic forecast because it puts more money into the economy, but it also takes money away from the state budget.

The Portland Business Journal reports:

“Today’s forecast shows strong signs of economic growth for Oregon,” said Sen. Diane Rosenbaum, a Portland Democrat and the Senate Majority Leader. “Our economy continues to recover the jobs we lost during the (recession), and we are relieved to see more Oregonians entering the workforce to find a good-paying job. We are committed to do all we can to help those Oregon families that are still struggling.”

House Republican leader Rep. Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) also celebrated the news:

“The projected $349 million individual income tax kicker will provide much needed tax relief to hard-working Oregonians across the state,” he said. “While our state economy is projected to continue to grow, we must remain focused on addressing the issues facing both our rural and urban communities, including creating and attracting family-wage jobs and improving infrastructure and public safety across the state.”

 State economist Mark McMullen provided perspective in a Portland Tribune report:

“These are the salad days for Oregon’s economy,” state economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers on the House and Senate revenue committees.

“Not everything out there is great, obviously, but everything is moving in the right direction. A wide range of economic indicators are all improving — and improving at rates similar to other (economic) expansions we have had.”


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