HomeOregon NewsOregon's revenue rollercoaster: Massive tax refund puts spotlight on the “Kicker Law”

Oregon’s revenue rollercoaster: Massive tax refund puts spotlight on the “Kicker Law”

Portland, Oregon – There are a lot of problems for the state of Oregon because of its unique tax refund rule, which is called the “kicker.”

This law from 1979 says that when the state’s income exceeds what was anticipated by at least 2%, it has to give the extra money back to the people. Mark McMullen and Josh Lehner, Oregon’s state economists, recently told lawmakers that the state is due a record $5.5 billion refund, which will have a big effect on its budget and its ability to handle different problems.

Economic Forecasting and the Kicker Law

Oregon’s tax system depends a lot on income taxes, which makes it hard to predict how much money the state will get. The $5.5 billion return from the state is the biggest one ever, which has made people wonder how accurate these predictions were and what the kicker law means. This rule was made to keep the state from spending too much, but it is now seen as something that makes it harder to meet urgent needs.

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Impact on State Budgeting and Services

Oregon can’t afford to pay for important things like housing, mental health care, and public safety because of the huge return. The biggest labor group in the state says that income tax revenue is consistently underestimated, which means that taxpayers get big refunds and public services get less money.

Challenges in Revenue Prediction

Due to Oregon’s reliance on income taxes and the instability of these revenue streams, especially from high-income families, it is hard to make accurate revenue forecasts. Compared to other states, Oregon’s forecasts seem less correct, but experts say that forecasting is getting harder all over the country.

Political and Union Responses

Some politicians and labor groups in the state don’t like how the forecasts are made; they think that the numbers are intentionally too low to avoid having to cut the budget. However, Oregon’s tax system and the “kicker” law make things more difficult, so it’s hard to blame only state economics.

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The Kicker’s History and Future Discussions

The kicker was first made as a reaction to inflation in the 1970s, but it has since become a controversial issue. Reforming it is hard because any big changes might need voter approval, which is a legal and political problem. Some people want to lower the effect of the kicker by separating capital gains tax income, but this also has problems.

Outlook and Possible Reforms

There are still talks going on about changing the rule to make the state budget more stable, even though the kicker and making predictions are hard. Big changes are likely to happen slowly, though, because politics are involved and Oregon voters might need to be involved in the decision-making process.

Oregon’s one-of-a-kind tax refund law was meant to keep state spending in check, but it now makes it very hard to meet state goals and stick to a budget. The argument over the future of the kicker is a reflection of bigger problems in Oregon’s tax policy, its ability to predict future income, and its political system.

Booker Whitfield

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7 COMMENTS

  1. well maybe the state of ORegon needs to learn what the rest of us do and that is to stick to a strict budget since property taxes are so high, rents are so high, we all have to budget, maybe ORegon needs to rethink some things…..this isn’t Caifornia

  2. What kind of freaking hoopla is this. This is the one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard and I hope people aren’t falling for this. What does article says basically is that they receive more income from people’s taxes than expected they have based their budgets on what it was expected so when there’s an excess that comes in they return it to the people who gave it to them. Then it is saying that when they have to give back the money that it makes their budget short and they can’t pay for the services that would normally be paid for with this money. No they have already budgeted for these services. It is the excess money that is being returned. It shouldn’t make a shortcoming if they didn’t think they were going to have the money in the first place that is like paying your bills somebody dropping $100 bill on the ground you picking it up and saying you can’t give it back because it would mean your bills not paid incorrect you didn’t expect to have that money because it is not yours give it back to the person who lost it. Finding someone else’s money does not change your budget.

  3. You reap what you sow. Add a secret sales tax called the corporate activity tax, and then cap the said government from wasting it all. We just gave you the largest tax boom of the 21st century and it’s still not enough. Unbloat your post Covid budget. You can do it.

  4. When you put the people to vote for something, it should stay there. Leave it alone. I voted for this many many years ago. Sad thing is now I’m older, and on Social Security, and I’m not reaping any of the rewards. You’re killing the older generation off here I had to go to the food bank last week, and I was number 61. The most people that were in there were elderly. Now you’re gonna allow them to raise the electricity food prices are out of control. Why don’t you get it together Salem.

  5. When you put the people to vote for something, it should stay there. Leave it alone. I voted for this many many years ago. Sad thing is now I’m older, and on Social Security, and I’m not reaping any of the rewards. You’re killing the older generation off here I had to go to the food bank last week, and I was number 61. The most people that were in there were elderly. Now you’re gonna allow them to raise the electricity food prices are out of control. Why don’t you get it together Salem.

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