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Expanding Oregon Economy Could Trigger 'Kicker'

An improving Oregon economy could trigger the state's first personal income tax kicker since 2007.

Oregon State Capitol in Salem.
Credit Wikimedia
Oregon State Capitol in Salem.

State economist Mark McMullen told lawmakers Thursday morning in Salem that a relatively small upward swing in tax revenue next year could mean the state will have to refund hundreds of millions of dollars.

"The fact that we're close to the edge here means that we're looking at probably in the range of $300 to $500 million of a kicker, which is a pain in the butt, but it's not an insurmountable management problem,” he said.

Oregon's unique kicker law takes effect when revenues exceed projections by more than two percent during a two-year budget cycle. McMullen said it's still a flip of the coin whether the personal income tax kicker will be triggered.

But it's far more likely the kicker for corporate taxes will happen. That money wouldn't go back to businesses. Instead, it would be diverted to education funding.

Taxpayers will find out near the end of next summer whether or not they’ll receive a kicker.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman covers the Oregon state capitol for JPR as part of the Northwest News Network, a group of 12 Northwest public radio organizations which collaborate on regional news coverage. Chris graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He began his career producing arts features for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana and has been a reporter/announcer for NPR station WNIJ in DeKalb, Illinois. Chris has also reported from overseas, filing stories from Iraq, Burkina Faso, El Salvador, Northern Ireland, Zimbabwe and Uganda.
Chris Lehman
Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.