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City Club of Eugene: Oregon's "Excess Revenue": Refund or Reinvest?

Program Date: Oct. 1, 2021

Air Date: Oct. 4, 2021

From the City Club of Eugene:

In Oregon, when the actual tax revenue for a biennium exceeds the forecasted revenue by 2% or more, individual and corporate taxpayers get a rebate, which Oregonians call a “kicker.” The kicker policy was adopted by voters first in 1980, and in 2000 it was placed in the state Constitution. In 2012, after a few years of experience with the kicker, giving voters a chance to see its impact on state programs, a change was made. Now individual tax payers get a check proportional to their tax liability, but corporate kicker rebates are deposited into the state’s general fund and earmarked for K-12 education.

Last month, the Oregon Office of Economic Analysis reported that if tax collections come in as predicted, Oregonians will get a kicker: households in the “middle 20%” of the income distribution will receive an average of about $420 and the richest 1% an average of nearly $17,000 when they file their taxes in 2022. Debate about the kicker has grown in recent years–with advocates on both sides of the issue staking out markedly different positions. In this program, two experts in tax policies and state economics will describe very different views of how well the kicker works and what it promotes or impedes in community life.


Eric Fruits, PhD, is the Vice President of Research at Cascade Policy Institute. He leads Cascade’s policy team and serves as an expert analyst of Oregon state and local public policy issues. As a consulting economist, Eric Fruits has produced numerous research studies involving economic analysis, financial modeling, and statistical analysis. His economic analysis has been widely cited and has been published in The Economist, The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today.  He is also an adjunct professor of economics at Portland State University. He earned a BS in Business from Indiana University and an PhD in economics from Claremont Graduate University.

Daniel Hauser is the Director of Strategic Policy Projects and lead on tax and housing policies at the Oregon Center for Public Policy. He worked as a policy analyst for the Association of Oregon Counties. He earned a BA in Political Science and an MA in Public Policy at Oregon State University. His focus is on conducting accurate and robust statistical analysis and research for the public good.