Oregon state tax collections at historical high

Dan Lucas_July 2012_BW

by Dan Lucas

In response to a query from state Sen. Doug Whitsett, Oregon Legislative Revenue Officer Paul Warner replied on August 18, 2016, that it was safe to say that Oregon’s total state tax collections are at a historical high.

That’s consistent with historical data on Oregon tax collections in a February 2014 research report from the Oregon Legislative Revenue Office (LRO) that I wrote about two years ago. That data from 1970-2013 showed “During the 40+ years, income taxes have outstripped inflation and population growth by about $2.5 billion – ending up at $6.7 billion rather than $4.2 billion.”

State of Oregon - History of Tax Collections_Aug 2014

click to enlarge

It’s also consistent with the continuing rapid growth of the Oregon budget. As I noted in April “this General & Lottery Funds budget ‘reflects a staggering increase of $2.1 billion from the previous $16.8 billion budget.’ That was on top of another staggering increase of around $2 billion from the previous budget cycle.”

In that same article, I also pointed out that charts produced by the State of Oregon’s Legislative Fiscal Office “show the General & Lottery Funds [biennial] budget grew over $6.5 billion in just the past 10 years – from around $12.5 billion in 2005-07 to $19 billion now!”

2015-17 LAB General and Lottery Funds History_March 2016

click to enlarge

To read more from Dan, visit www.dan-lucas.com

  • barttels

    So inspiring. The only thing I don’t understand about this state is why anyone who can get out doesn’t get out. I wish I had that option.

    • guest

      Or, we can turn to face the insurgents and tell them to get their fanooks out – or face withering fire and ire from those who truly love Oregon.“`Among those those who should be shown the door: Bradbury, Brown, Avakian, Kotek and more including
      blow fly Blooming Fowler and the NY monument, Wyden.

  • thevillageidiot

    It is pretty obvious that the democrats have no fiscal sense beyond spend more that the revenue cover, borrow more then add new taxes. how much of this revenue increase has been due to new taxes? and the dems want to increase more. Is there a majority of voters out there that have enough sense to at least try to change the make up of the house and senate in this state?
    Nope! in the famous words of Forest Gump “stupid is as stupid does”.

  • 感觉很不错的样子!

  • HBguy

    Question: On the top chart, is the property tax all property taxes assessed, state, and local? Or is it just the part that goes to the State?

    • It’s all property taxes in Oregon – but they’re local – property taxes don’t go to the state.
      From page D1 of the 2014 Legislative Revenue Office Research Report # 1-14:
      “The property tax in Oregon is a local tax. It funds most of the local services and many functions of county and city governments. Large portions of school districts’ and community college budgets also depend on property tax receipts.”
      “Property tax rates differ across the state. The rate on any particular property depends on the tax rates approved by local voters and the limits established in the Oregon Constitution. Most properties are taxed by multiple districts, such as a city, county, school, community college, port and fire district.”

      • HBguy


  • Jack Lord God

    Assuming the lower chart is in constant dollars, it is very hard for me to see how Oregon government is five times better than it was when I moved here in 89. Id love for someone to make that case to me, that we spend close to five times as much, but are getting five times better services, road repair or whatever.

    • David from Mill City

      Not only are you not seeing a fivefold increase in the level of
      service, it is very likely that the level of services provided by the State in some areas are less than they were in 1989. The main culprit behind this simultaneous increase in cost and decline in level of service is not either political party but
      rather a basic budget reality. This year you cannot get last year’s governmental structure at last year’s cost, and even if you could you would experience a reduction in the level of service being provided. In the first case the problem is inflation and in the second case the problem is population increase.

      When considering the impact of inflation on the provision of governmental services, it is important to understand that the mix of products and services used by government is different than those in the market basket used to calculate the CPI.. Similarly, the increase in population is not simply the increase the number of residents in a jurisdiction, but also needs to include changes in the number of individuals needing or requiring governmental services. Which means there is no quick and dirty way to gain an indication of whether the increase in a budget is justifiable or not. To put this another way, the result of simply taking last year’s budget amount
      and adjusting it using the CPI and the increase in the number of people, is meaningless and no real value in evaluating a budget.

  • David from Mill City

    While the amount of tax revenues this year is interesting, the fact that the amount is greater than last year’s amount is not news, it is
    just the way our economic system works. Now if it were to be markedly lower than last years that would be news.

    As to the author’s final comment: “During the 40+ years, income taxes have outstripped inflation and population growth by about $2.5 billion – ending up at $6.7 billion rather than $4.2 billion.” Assuming the author is speaking of tax revenues, this is an Interesting but incorrect statement, assuming consistent tax rates over the period, all increases in Income Tax Revenues are the result of increases in income (inflation) or number of tax payers both real and corporate (population). These are only other variables in the equation.

    If there were changes to the tax rates, the result of either changes in
    tax laws and rules or in the rates themselves, during the period that would have a direct effect on total revenues either plus or minus depending on the direction of the rate change. The fact that tax revenues went up after a tax increase again is not news it is simply mathematics.