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Posts published in “Day: December 14, 2007”

Timing the kicker

There's no coincidence to the fact that Oregonians are getting their income tax refund-extras - "kickers" - just in the midst of holiday season. It could have been timed in other ways (such as building it into the following year's tax obligation), but no . . . The timing was a real consideration.

So too with the effort gone visible this week to do away with the corporate kicker, the refund (made available when the state collects 2%-plus in revenue compared to what it had budgeted to spend) which also goes to individuals. The individual kicker is sacrosanct, a true Oregonian third rail, and no one is talking about touching it.

Both kickers are enshrined in the state constitution, which makes either of them difficult to amend. But the corporate kicker has much less support than the individual, and it is vulnerable to change. This year the corporate kicker payments were diverted (by legislative action) from their business recipients to various state needs, and that action drew notably little opposition; even many of the business interests which might have been expected to raise a fuss went along with the idea. A large part of the reason is that most of the corporate kicker money (the estimate runs around 85%) would simply go out of state, not befitting Oregon or its resident businesses at all. A permanent elimination of the corporate kicker would seem to be the next step. But because it is enshrined in the constitution, that will be a little complicated.

This week, a group aiming at shepherding that process over what may be four or five years filed its ballot petition and unveiled itself, and its web site.