The re-election of Gov. Kate Brown and Democratic control of the Legislature means a special kind of progress for the state — progress in the amount Oregonians pay in taxes.
Brown is aiming for a $2 billion increase in a state that will already be bringing in record revenues. And just as bad, her allies in the Legislature are planning to swipe the kicker from Oregon taxpayers.
How much is the kicker swipe? Some $724 million. Oregonians making $61,600 in adjusted gross income (that was the state average in 2016) would get $355 kicked backed on their taxes in 2020.
Some lawmakers want to put the kicker instead into a rainy day fund or to use it to help fund education. Those are good causes. Aren’t the finances of Oregon taxpayers a good cause, too?
Maybe to some legislators $355 isn’t much.
We’re sure Oregonians could think of any number important things to spend it on — groceries, the heating bill, child care.
The kicker is one of the only controls on spending that exists in the state. The law requires the state “to return excess revenue to taxpayers when actual (non-corporate) general fund revenues exceed the forecasted amount by more than two percent.”
It was Central Oregon’s own Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend, who helped protect the kicker by passing the legislation that helped put it in the Constitution.
Lawmakers may be eyeing plans to suspend the kicker. They can do that with approval of two-thirds of lawmakers or they may have bigger plans to undo the law entirely.
We agree the kicker is an oddball way to control spending. What other method is there?
Even with record revenues, Brown and lawmakers only show appetite for more.
“We can no longer do things as we have in the past,” Brown recently announced to supporters.
Actually Democrats are doing exactly what they have always done — seeking to extract more money from Oregonians. This time around, they even want the kicker.