It’s time to suspend Oregon’s stability-wrecking “kicker”

News Release
May 16, 2017

Statement by Chuck Sheketoff on the May Oregon Economic and Revenue Forecast

If Oregonians needed a reminder of how reckless the Oregon kicker law is, today we got it in the state economists’ latest economic and revenue forecast.

As the legislature explores ways to address a revenue deficit, as well as the long-term underfunding of Oregon’s schools and essential services and need for more stability, today we learned that Oregon is on course to trigger an unanticipated, automatic tax cut that could cost the state about $400 million.

If the kicker does kick, the typical Oregonian would owe $85 less in taxes next year, while the average member of the top 1 percent would owe $4,505 less on their taxes.

While we won’t know until September whether the kicker has kicked, and its final size, it’s not too early for lawmakers to avoid potentially digging a deeper hole with an unnecessary tax cut that primarily benefits the wealthy.

The kicker law adds instability to Oregon’s revenue system. It makes budgeting more uncertain and prevents our state from saving the unanticipated funds in our Rainy Day Fund.

Should the kicker come to kick, it will make the work of funding Oregon schools and essential services that much harder. Suspending the kicker — an action that the Oregon Constitution allows — should be part of the agenda of the legislature’s Joint Committee on Tax Reform.

Chuck Sheketoff is executive director of the Oregon Center for Public Policy