Oregon Taxpayer Refunds from General Fund, Measure 86 (2000)

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Oregon Ballot Measure 86 (2000) or Senate Joint Resolution (SJR) 17 is a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment that would require refunds to taxpayers when state General Fund revenues exceed state estimates of General Fund revenues by two percent or more, as currently required by statute.

The 2000 statutory law required the state to estimate General Fund revenues separately from corporate income and excise taxes and from all other sources, including personal income taxes, for each two-year state budget period (also called a biennium). If collections for the biennium from either corporate income and excise taxes or from other General Fund revenue sources exceed their estimates by two percent or more, current statutes require that the surplus over 100% of the estimate, commonly known as the "kicker," be refunded to taxpayers in the form of a direct refund or through a tax credit. Ballot Measure 86 would establish these "kicker" refunds as constitutional requirements.[1]

Election results

This measure passed at the November 2000 General Election.

Measure 86
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 898,793 62%
No550,30438%


Ballot title

Amends Constitution: Requires Refunding General Fund Revenues Exceeding State Estimates To Taxpayers[2]

Support

Supporters argued that the "kicker" is the most popular version of tax reform in history, explaining that the legislature simply balances the budget and returns the remaining funds collected over 2% to the people of Oregon. They point out that the Democratic governor and legislature has opposed the measure because they want to spend the taxpayers' money and not have to return a cent of it.[3]

Opposition

Some opposed to the measure simply didn't want the Oregon Constitution filled with "clutter" about tax policy and budgets. The League of Women Voters, who opposes the measure said, "Simply put, rules about what happens when "general fund revenues exceed state estimates by more then two percent" do not belong in the same place as our fundamental guarantees of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom of religion."The league, however, was also concerned about the policy and believed it wasn't right to prevent the state from accquiring a surplus if needed.

The Oregon AFL-CIO union pointed out that the tax credit would take money from public education. They also opposed the fact that the credit would not give a larger percentage to "needier" Oregon families and call the tax credit "disproportionate".[4]


See also

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References