Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Support education: End the corporate kicker

Oregon has a ridiculous "kicker" law that kicks back money to individual taxpayers and corporations whenever revenue from two-year-old economic projections exceeds 2 percent or more of estimates.

Naturally, when revenue slips below 2 percent or goes into negative territory, taxpayers and corporations don't have to make up the difference.

No, we just cut services, which in Oregon means cutting funding for education at all levels.

Ballot Measure 85 is simple: "Amends Constitution: Allocates corporate income/excise tax 'kicker' refund to additionally fund K through 12 public education."

Measure 85 doesn't touch the "kicker" paid to individual taxpayers.

Corporations have done well during the Great Recession. Nationally, they're hoarding cash in excess of a trillion dollars.

Oregon corporations don't even notice the "kicker" refund.

Here's a graph from an Oregonian story in the late 1990s:

"Jim Gaffney, a Portland accountant who handles corporate tax returns, said many companies didn't particularly notice the kicker money, even when there was a 50 percent tax credit last time.The reason is that the state's corporate rate is relatively low, and the amount of the onetime rebate does not have a big effect on a company's operation."

If the "kicker" doesn't matter to corporations, why are we giving it to them?

It certainly matters to public education in Oregon where we've had to repeatedly shorten the school year over the past decade to handle declining revenue.

If Oregon is going to cope with the international economic demands of the 21st century it has to invest more in public education. If we don't, we all lose.

Vote Yes on Measure 85, which ends the corporate "kicker" refund.

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