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Oregon House speaker wants to cut tax rebate in half

May 16, 2019

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — House Speaker Tina Kotek is introducing a plan to halve cut the tax rebate Oregon residents receive.

The Portland Democrat announced the idea Thursday, the day after state economists revealed that the “kicker” tax rebate could be the largest in state history.

Oregon Public Broadcasting reports that in a bill Kotek introduced Thursday morning roughly half of the estimated $1.4 billion tax rebate would be kept by the state and spent on a set of transportation initiatives the speaker argues will benefit public safety, air quality, and job creation.

The proposal has few precedents — the personal income tax kicker has only been redirected once, as lawmakers grappled with a budget shortfall in 1991. And it’s not an easy task to accomplish. In order for her bill to pass, Kotek needs two-thirds support in both the House and Senate.

Under Oregon’s Constitution, the unique kicker tax rebate is triggered when tax revenues for a two-year budget cycle come in more than 2 percent above economists’ forecast from the start of the cycle.