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Dispatches from public radio's correspondent at the Oregon Legislature. This is a venue for political and policy coverage of the state government in Salem and its impact on the people of Oregon.

Expanding Oregon Economy Could Trigger 'Kicker'


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

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.