Oregon income taxpayers are in line to receive the biggest refund next year due to the state’s unique tax “kicker” law. State officials said this week that tax revenue exceeded by $2.6 billion the state’s projection from 2017. Under the kicker law, the state returns taxes, in the form of credits, when revenue surpasses projections by at least 2%.

Some state lawmakers and officials — Democrats, mainly — probably will try to divert at least some of this money. They might propose to pay down the state’s public employee retirement system shortfall or bolster the rainy day fund as a hedge against a future recession.

But another announcement this week, this one from the federal government, highlights the economic benefits of keeping money in Americans’ wallets rather than in government coffers.

Reports show that although the national economy slowed this spring, with the gross domestic product growing by 2%, down from 3.1% in the first quarter, an increase in consumer spending to the highest level in nearly five years partially offset that slowdown.

This is vital because consumer spending is responsible for about 70% of economic growth.

Oregon’s reserve funds already are at an all-time high of $3.7 billion. Making sure residents receive their full kicker credits — the average is estimated at $739 — would stimulate the economy and, potentially, reduce the need to dip into that reserve.

— Jayson Jacoby, Baker City Herald editor

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