By Associated Press • 

Oregonians will get 'kicker' rebates in via tax credit


SALEM — Oregon will send $402 million back to taxpayers next year after the state collected more than expected in personal-income taxes over the last two years, state economists said Wednesday.

The estimated median rebate under Oregon's “kicker” law will be $124, though the value varies significantly based on income.

Oregon's kicker law was created in the 1980s as a check on government growth. It's triggered when the state collects at least 2 percent more than anticipated during a two-year budget cycle. When that happens, the additional money is kicked back to taxpayers.

Tax increases from 2013 and the economic recovery helped Oregon generate about 3 percent more than anticipated in personal income taxes during the 2013-2015 budget period.

In the past, kicker rebates have arrived as a check shortly before the holidays, making them a beloved feature of state tax laws. Because of a change made in 2011, however, the money will now come as a credit when Oregonians file their taxes next year. The kicker money will increase the size of a refund or decrease the final tax bill.

The value of an individual's kicker is based on their 2014 state tax bill. The top 1 percent of taxpayers — who earn at least $336,000 a year — will get an estimated $4,614 and the bottom 20 percent will get $10, according to economists.

Oregonians last received kicker rebates in 2007, when $1.1 billion was returned to taxpayers.

Supporters of the kicker law say unexpected money belongs with taxpayers. Critics say it prevents the state from saving during good times to avoid budget cuts during lean times, contributing to a volatile state budget.


Don Dix

The kicker law doesn't prevent the state from 'saving money'. The state never has been a good steward or a prudent spender of tax money. And there is a distinct possibility that the 'critics' would be in line for extra spending if the kicker wasn't spoiling their plans. In fact, has there ever been a 'real, dollar for dollar' budget cut since the kicker was implemented?

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