Oregon's economy is humming along at a good clip, according to the latest outlook released Wednesday by state economists. But thanks to a unique Oregon law, if the state revenues keep going up, they'll actually go down.
They call it “the kicker.” Here's how it works: Every two years, Oregon's state economist predicts how much revenue the state will bring in during the next budget cycle. Lawmakers craft their budget based on this prediction. If more money comes in than the economist predicted, that's all well and good unless too much money comes in. Specifically, two percent more than predicted. At that point, the extra cash all gets sent back to taxpayers.
So when Mark McMullen tells lawmakers that this is as good as it gets, what he really means is that if the economy picks up even more, the added cash will vanish from state coffers.
In real numbers, the kicker will kick if the state takes in an additional $27 million more than predicted. That's actually a very small margin of error. The last time Oregon taxpayers got a kicker check was in 2007.
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