It's time to don those rose-tinted glasses to prepare for the fiscal madness called the Oregon tax kicker law.
Now that tax revenues are about to exceed projections by more than 2 percent, we may anticipate checks in the mail. And so will corporations that are headquartered outside Oregon.
In the logic of the economy or taxation, the kicker makes no sense. The Oregonian has nailed the kicker precisely. "Understand, the kicker is not a deliberate economic development strategy. It is a random, ridiculous law, unique to Oregon."
The Oregon Legislature enacted the kicker in 1979 as a tactic to fend off the tax limitation movement that had been inspired by California's Proposition 13. The Legislature failed to enact the best remedy, a homestead exemption. Thus Oregon got two tax limitation measures, both of which have transferred the property tax burden from business to home owners.
The smart approach would be to take tax revenues above a certain level and place them in a rainy-day fund. There have been many proposals for a rainy-day fund. With one exception, this has been a Democratic concept that is opposed by Republicans and the business lobby. Republican House Speaker Lynn Lundquist did propose a kicker, which died at the hands of the business lobby.
Creating a rainy-day fund ought to be a bipartisan concept. It is fiscally responsible.
Now that Oregon has spent more than a decade disinvesting in secondary education, higher education and public safety and now that the state's economy is rebounding, it is a travesty to return tax revenues instead of building up reserves against the next recession. The great bulk of business tax refunds will go to headquarters outside Oregon.
Any Republican candidate for governor who wants to be taken seriously must propose a rainy-day fund.
- Daily Astorian