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Oregon Ballot Measure 86 (2000): Wikis

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(Redirected to Kicker (Oregon tax rebate) article)

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The Oregon tax rebate, commonly referred to as the kicker, is a rebate given to both individual and corporate taxpayers in the U.S. state of Oregon when a revenue surplus exists. The Oregon Constitution mandates that the rebate be issued when the calculated revenue for a given biennium exceeds the forecast revenue by at least two percent.[1] The law was first passed by ballot measure in 1980, and was entered into the Oregon Constitution with the passage of Ballot Measure 86 in 2000.

The Oregon Department of Revenue distributes the rebate in what is known to Oregonians as a kicker check.[1]

History

Rising concerns over property taxes and inflation in the 1970s urged lawmakers all over the country to draft tax cut plans; notably California's Proposition 13,[2] which inspired the Oregon legislature to draft their own bill aimed at limiting what was perceived as excessive growth. Their 1979 tax relief package aimed to stem rising property taxes, reduce individual taxpayer burden, and limit spending from the state's general fund. Under the bill, property owners received a 30-percent reduction in property taxes, and the state would be required to rebate "excessive" surplus to the taxpayers.[2]

The kicker law was overwhelmingly approved by voters in 1980, but the first kicker rebate didn't occur until 1985 when the calculated revenue exceeded the forecast revenue by 7.7 percent ($88.7 million).[3] The kicker was triggered again in 1987 (16.6%, $224.2 million) and 1989 (9.8%, $175.2 million).

In 1991 and 1993, budget problems relating to Ballot Measure 5 of 1990 prompted lawmakers to suspend the kicker, withholding $246 million from taxpayers.[3]

Throughout the 1990s and 2000s, rebates have occurred five more times; 1995 (6.27%, $162.8 million), 1997 (14.37%, $431.5 million), 1999 (4.57%, $167.3 million), 2001 (6.02%, 253.6 million), and 2007 (18.6%, $1,071.2 million).[4][5]

In 1999, Measure 86 was drafted and referred to voters. This measure, which was passed with 62% approval, placed the kicker law into the Oregon Constitution. Also as a result of the measure, an emergency vote must be called to cancel the distribution of kicker checks.[6]

Some criticize the kicker law, saying it prevents Oregon from retaining an appreciable economic surplus.[7] Without an ample surplus, the state is more vulnerable to the effects of recession, such as in 2003 as when police forces were cut, schools were downsized, and healthcare was restricted.[7] Since the very beginning of the kicker in 1980, legislators have looked to find ways around this. In 2007, lawmakers in Oregon succeeded in diverting funds from the corporate kicker to a surplus account called the rainy day fund.[7] Further movements to eliminate the kicker altogether are underway,[4] backed by lawmakers such as Governor Ted Kulongoski.[8]

See also

References

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