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New governor, legislative leaders weigh in

Some reactions to Thursday’s quarterly economic and revenue forecast, which now projects a $349 million credit under Oregon’s kicker law to taxpayers on their 2015 tax bills:

Gov. Kate Brown:

“I was happy to learn that today’s revenue forecast reflects a slow but steady economic recovery. While I am cautiously optimistic about our continued growth, I will work to ensure that it is felt in Oregon communities that have been slower to recover.”

Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem:

“This forecast is good. The economy is growing. Job growth is steady. We still have additional forecasts ahead. A small shift either way could have a huge impact. Right now it looks like the people might get money back from a kicker. We won’t know for sure until September. Right now it looks like revenue growth will allow us to keep most of the investments outlined in the co-chairs budget. That could change. It could go down. It could go up. It’s never been more important for us to keep our eye on the coming forecasts.”

Senate Majority Leader Diane Rosenbaum, D-Portland:

“Today’s forecast shows strong signs of economic growth for Oregon. Our economy continues to recover the jobs we lost during the Great Recession, and we are relieved to see more Oregonians entering the workforce to find a good-paying job. We are committed to do all we can to help those Oregon families that are still struggling.”

“Senate Democrats have consistently put investments in Oregon schools at the top of our legislative agenda. The upward revisions to the local revenue formula mean that more dollars will go directly into classrooms across Oregon. This is fantastic news.”

“However, today’s forecast is a clear demonstration of the volatility of our state’s revenue system. As we emerge from years of budget cuts and shortened school years, I am committed to working with Senator Mark Hass, our Senate Revenue chair, and others to see how we can bring stability and predictability to our state budget and the critical services it funds.”

Senate Republican Leader Ted Ferrioli of John Day:

"Boosted by lower energy prices leading to more disposable income, Oregon's economy is on the rise, and the voter-enacted kicker will boost this prosperity. Democrats voted to undermine growth in our economy by approving SB 324, a hidden gas tax. The kicker will give working families some financial relief, putting $349 million from the voter-approved kicker back in the hands of working Oregon families. This is a cause for celebration."

Sen. Tim Knopp, R-Bend:

"This revenue forecast gives us the certainty to we need to finally fund K-12 education at $8 billion. With this extra tax revenue from economic growth and higher wages, we have no excuse for shortchanging Oregon classrooms. This is our green light to immediately and fully fund K-12 education at $8 billion so school districts have the certainty they need to plan for next school year."

House Speaker Tina Kotek, D-Portland:

“Today’s forecast tells us that the economy is continuing to improve, both in Oregon and nationally. My goal continues to be making sure the recovery means good news for all Oregonians and all parts of the state.

“The budget process underway may be impacted by a personal kicker. The investments in our schools and mental health programs which came out of the 2013 special session are the lead factor in the kicker prediction. We will consider all of the variables, especially the critical May forecast, as we work to craft bipartisan budgets that will expand opportunity and prosperity in Oregon.”

House Republican Leader Mike McLane of Powell Butte:

“Today’s revenue forecast brings welcome news to the people of Oregon: our economy has produced enough tax revenue that we have hit the kicker. The projected $349 million individual income tax kicker will provide much needed tax relief to hard-working Oregonians across the state.

“While our state economy is projected to continue to grow, we must remain focused on addressing the issues facing both our rural and urban communities, including creating and attracting family-wage jobs and improving infrastructure and public safety across the state.”

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