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Oregon Revenue Forecast Steady, But Kicker A Possibility

Chris Phan

Oregon's economy is humming along at a good clip, according to the latest outlook released Wednesday by state economists.

Credit Chris Phan / Flickr

But thanks to a unique Oregon law called “the kicker,” if the state revenues keep going up, they'll actually go down.

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 told lawmakers, ”This is about as good as it can possibly get,” what he really meant 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.

Copyright 2014 Northwest News Network

Chris Lehman graduated from Temple University with a journalism degree in 1997. He landed his first job less than a month later, producing arts stories for Red River Public Radio in Shreveport, Louisiana. Three years later he headed north to DeKalb, Illinois, where he worked as a reporter and announcer for NPR–affiliate WNIJ–FM. In 2006 he headed west to become the Salem Correspondent for the Northwest News Network.