Thursday, June 25, 2015

Suspend the Kicker

Willamette Live
June 24th, 2015

There is a reason that Oregon is the only state in the nation that rebates surplus tax collections to citizens. It’s a bad idea.
The “kicker” was a bad idea 37 years ago when it was first enacted by the Legislature and it’s a bad idea today. What many other states do with their surplus, and what we should do with ours, is to save it for a rainy day.
Rainy days always come, especially in Oregon, which has one of the most volatile tax systems in the country, one that is especially sensitive to economic downturns.
Like the last time the kicker kicked.
It was in 2007, on the eve of the Great Recession. Taxpayers received a $1.1 billion kicker just before the bottom fell out of the state and national economy and the state budget. The next few years saw huge cuts to school funding, to higher education funding and to other needed services. Higher education funding still has not recovered nearly a decade later.

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