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Might Oregon Kill 'Kicker Tax' Rebate to Help Education?

Momentum is building to end the only-in-Oregon approach of issuing tax rebates in order to build reserves for schools.

Posted: Dec 5, 2018 10:50 AM

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Momentum is building to end the only-in-Oregon approach of issuing tax rebates in order to build reserves for schools.

The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that if Oregon economists' predictions hold, taxpayers will receive up to $724 million worth of "kicker" rebates when they file their income taxes in 2020.

Right now, the median state resident with roughly $36,000 a year in adjusted gross income can expect a tax credit of about $175 in 2020.

But it's possible voters will decide to instead send the money to a rainy day fund for schools that the state could tap during economic downturns.

Business leaders who gathered in Portland on Monday said polling showed more than 60 percent of respondents would support such a change. Jeremy Rogers, vice president of the Oregon Business Council, told attendees at the Oregon Leadership Summit that lawmakers could refer the question to voters in the May 2019 election.

It was the latest sign that the idea is gaining momentum, six years after voters approved ending the kicker rebate on corporate taxes.

Under Oregon's Constitution, the unique kicker tax rebate is triggered when tax revenues for a two-year budget cycle come in more than 2 percent above economists' forecast from the start of the cycle.

One question heading into the legislative session is how high a priority it will be for Democrats to change the kicker, as they aim to pass major climate change legislation and raise billions in fees and taxes to fund Medicaid and education.

Sen. Mark Hass, D-Beaverton, is chair of the Oregon Senate Committee on Finance and Revenue. On Tuesday, he expressed support for the idea of ending the kicker.

"I would love to redirect it to the rainy-day fund," Hass said on Tuesday, noting that Oregon's dependence on income taxes exposes the state to wild fluctuations in revenue. "The next best thing to a major structural reform . is to have a strong rainy-day fund to cushion the inevitable downturns we have. It's poor public policy to begin with."

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Reported Deaths: 209
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah236169
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Washington149120
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Umatilla6674
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Deschutes2010
Lane1963
Malheur1601
Linn1569
Polk15412
Jackson1400
Yamhill1328
Jefferson1310
Klamath1251
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Morrow821
Clatsop490
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Coos420
Columbia350
Lake200
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Crook120
Wallowa100
Curry80
Baker40
Sherman20
Grant10
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Gilliam00
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Wheeler00

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Fresno562677
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San Francisco377650
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Kings258332
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Monterey179115
Solano147625
Merced127211
Sonoma126710
Placer78611
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Yolo58324
Madera5665
Santa Cruz4173
Napa3444
San Benito2572
Lassen2340
Butte2063
El Dorado2060
Sutter2063
Humboldt1444
Shasta1354
Nevada1231
Glenn1220
Yuba1031
Tehama881
Lake850
Mendocino850
Colusa700
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Amador260
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