Initiative to end corporate kicker headed for ballot


With the July 6 signature gathering deadline nearing, 2012 looks to be another busy year for Oregon ballot measures.

Up to eight initiatives could qualify for the November ballot, including one petition sponsored by the union-backed non-profit Our Oregon. That initiative would eliminate the corporate “kicker,” and instructs the Legislature to spend those funds instead on K-12 education.

Oregon is the only state with the provision known as the kicker. When the Oregon Legislature develops the two-year state budgets, the state economist makes a prediction about future income tax revenue. If actual revenues later exceed that prediction by more than 2 percent, the state rebates the surplus to taxpayers. That has happened five times in the last 20 years, with corporate kickers totaling $18 million in 1991-93, and $344 million in 2005-07.

The Our Oregon initiative would continue the individual income tax rebates, but end the corporate income tax rebates, most of which go to out-of-state corporations.

A Constitutional amendment, the initiative — Initiative Petition 35 — needs 116,284 valid signatures of registered voters by July 6 to qualify.

Defend Oregon outreach coordinator Jennifer Keenan told the Executive Board of the Northwest Oregon Labor Council June 11 that 140,000 signatures have been collected, and that the goal is to add another 30,000 before the filing deadline.

Supporters can download and sign the petition here.

Seven other initiatives may end up getting enough signatures to get on the ballot. They include a pair of initiatives to permit development of a private non-tribal casino at a former greyhound track; an initiative to abolish Oregon’s estate tax; a constitutional amendment banning local governments from passing new taxes on real estate transactions; an initiative banning gillnetting of salmon; and a pair of initiatives to decriminalize marijuana.


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