News

Strong economy means Oregonians get tax 'kicker' rebate

Governor, lawmakers react to new revenue forecast

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) - The strong economy has triggered Oregon's kicker law.

State economists said Wednesday that more than $460 million will be returned to taxpayers. Rather than getting a check, taxpayers must claim the kicker as a credit when they do their 2017 state taxes early next year.

The kicker law was created in 1979 as a check on government growth. It's triggered when the state collects at least 2 percent more than anticipated during a two-year budget cycle. When that happens, the additional money is kicked back to taxpayers.

The estimated median rebate will be $89, though the value varies significantly based on income.

Oregon taxpayers last got their kicker in 2015. Before 2015, they had gone eight years without a rebate, due to the recession.

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Gov. Kate Brown news release:

Oregon's Economy One of the Strongest in the Nation

(Salem, OR) — Governor Kate Brown today applauded the news from Oregon’s latest revenue forecast, which shows the state’s economy continues to be one of the strongest in the nation. Additionally, last week, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that Oregon had the largest employment growth in the country over the last year.

Data from the State Economist finds that Oregon ended the 2015-17 biennium with more than $100 million in additional dollars. Nearly $40 million of this total is from dollars returned by state agencies to the general fund. Last spring, Governor Brown announced a series of policies to conserve taxpayer dollars that contributed to the higher than expected ending balance.
 
“Oregon continues to show the world that our state is a great place to live, visit, and do business.  Oregon businesses and workers develop world-class products and ideas—and that’s something to celebrate,” Governor Brown said.  “But we can’t rest on our laurels.  There’s still a lot of work to do to make sure our economy improves for everyone—particularly for rural communities and underserved populations.”
 
Governor Brown worked with the Legislature this year on several initiatives to support economic development:
 
Transportation Package

  • 10-year, $5.3 billion investment in roads, rail, bridges, and ports.  Besides supporting 16,000 construction jobs, these infrastructure improvements help businesses grow and get goods to market more quickly.

Workforce Development

  • $170 million for Measure 98 to support Career Technical Education, college prep and drop-out prevention.

Eastern Oregon

  • The creation of the Eastern Oregon Border Economic Development Region (HB 2012) and $5 million for economic and workforce development, in addition to over $900,000 in assistance to farmers after severe winter storms and to aid in regional economic development.

Manufacturing and Innovation

  • $14 million for the Oregon Manufacturing and Innovation Center in Scappoose.

Portland Harbor

  • $8 million to clean up the harbor, opening the way to millions more in economic development.

 
Governor Brown traveled extensively to meet with business owners across the state in 2017.  “I’m always impressed with the innovation and determination of Oregon businesses—from world-class agriculture to sportswear to cross-laminated timber,” Governor Brown said.  “I’m committed to helping employers overcome barriers to even greater success. That includes addressing housing shortages and workforce availability. With unemployment at record lows, now is the time to focus not just on getting people jobs, but preparing them for better jobs. That means more family wage salaries and higher productivity for Oregon business.”
 
The Governor recently announced $5 million in business development investments and credits interagency Regional Solutions teams around the state with helping businesses cut through red tape.

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Salem, Ore. - House Republican Leader Mike McLane (R-Powell Butte) released the following statement following the release of the quarterly revenue forecast:

“A kicker for Oregon taxpayers is good news. Thank you to the women and men in our communities that keep our economy growing. Now it’s time for our state government to do its part by reforming the other side of the ledger, something Democratic leaders refused to do this past session. By committing to PERS reform and structural spending reform, we can begin responsibly planning for leaner economic times and finally make game-changing investments in our schools and other core services.”

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Salem, OR – Representative Knute Buehler, R-Bend, issued the following statement in response to the revenue forecast released today:

“The hard working people of Oregon continue to drive record economic growth and revenue for the state. Sadly, these record revenues have not translated into better schools, improved graduation rates or increased services for Oregonians. The kicker should be refunded to Oregon taxpayers, and the state needs to prioritize its spending to do more with the money they have been given.”

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Following the revenue forecast briefing, Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli, of John Day, released the following statement:
 
"Oregon's economy continues to perform better than anticipated in our 2015-17 End of Session Revenue Forecast. This means that Oregonians are working more hours, earning higher wages, and benefitting from greater dividends and capital gains, all of which is good news for individuals and communities.
 
"To me, this forecast signals two things: first, that we do not need a Gross Receipts Sales Tax as our budget is in balance and our economy is producing surpluses, and second, Oregonians will have larger refunds or lower tax bills which will act as a further economic stimulus. That translates to Oregonians having more money to spend, save or invest. 

"Oregon's robust economy has produced a kicker refund for individual Oregon taxpayers and a corporate kicker refund that will be allocated to K-12 schools.

"The total kicker will be about $464 million that will be refunded to Oregonians, plus $110 million in excess corporate revenue that will be dedicated to funding K-12 schools.
 
"We should remember that there are still many needy people in Oregon and that maintaining a strong economy benefits everyone."
 
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SALEM – Oregon Senate Majority Leader Ginny Burdick, D-Portland, released the following statement this morning regarding the September 2017 Revenue Forecast:

“Oregon’s economy continues to grow, adding jobs and generating a little more revenue to invest in state services. This shows that our policies are supporting a more prosperous statewide economy. The economy swings up and down and the responsible thing to do right now, while we enjoy the good times, is to take a serious look at our revenue structure. We need to use this time to create a more stable system that works for all Oregonians.”

 


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