Democrats set their sights on taxpayer Kicker

Democrats set their sights on taxpayers’ Kicker
Broken rainy day fund spurs leaders to steal kicker
BY Senate Republican Office

SALEM — Taxpayers should say goodbye to their kicker checks indicated Governor Ted Kulongoski and House Speaker-designate Dave Hunt (D-Gladstone) on Thursday according to The Oregonian. The kicker law sends taxpayers a rebate check when the government collects more tax money than originally projected.

“Oregon voters have spoken clearly time after time about the value of their personal kicker refund,” said Senator Bruce Starr (R-Hillsboro). “Government should be learning to do more with less, like Oregon families have to do, rather than digging around in taxpayer pockets for more of their hard earned paychecks.”

Voters adopted the kicker law in 1980 by a vote of 636,565 to 64,979. In 2000, by a vote of 898,793 to 550,304, voters chose to enshrine the kicker law into the Oregon Constitution so that the legislature could not steal it by altering the statute. In 2004, when the legislature tried to temporarily suspend the kicker, the voters overwhelming defeated the measure, by a vote of 691,462 to 481,315.

Kulongoski and Hunt are proposing that the kicker proceeds be used to fund a rainy day account. Last session Democrats passed a rainy day fund that fails to save for the future. Their rainy day fund takes contributions from unspent money that is available at the end of a budget cycle. This budget cycle, after a 20% increase in spending, those contributions have dwindled to zero, leaving Oregon’s schools and the needy without a safety net.

Senator Bruce Starr introduced a rainy day fund proposal in the 2007 legislative session that would have dedicated 3% of a budget cycle’s revenue to a rainy day fund for tough economic times. Like a smart home budget, the 3% dedication would have come at the beginning of a budget cycle, before spending began. If Starr’s proposal had been adopted, taxpayers would have access to $400 million more in reserves then they do today.

“Democrats adopted a rainy day fund that has holes in it last session,” said Starr. “It is wrong to cover up that mistake by asking taxpayers for more of their money. What we need is a real rainy day fund that saves on the first day of a budget cycle, rather than after all the money has been spent.”

Starr will be re-introducing his save-first rainy day fund proposal in the 2009 legislative session.

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