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Helt urges lawmakers meet to refund ‘kicker’ taxes now, due to virus

KTVZ file

BEND, Ore. – State Rep. Cheri Helt, R-Bend, said Saturday that lawmakers should move quickly to combat the economic hardships facing Oregon families and businesses due to the COVID-19 coronavirus, by refunding excess state revenue in immediate "kicker" checks, rather than a tax credit.

Helt said the Legislature should meet in special session right away to convert roughly $1.6 billion in "kicker" tax credits, due to taxpayers later this year, into tax refund checks sent directly to Oregonians by Memorial Day.

According to the Oregon Department of Revenue, Oregon taxpayers are due roughly $1.6 billion in surplus tax refunds for the 2018 tax year.

Instead of checks, as was the practice until a law change in 2011, the surplus will be returned to taxpayers through a credit on their 2019 state personal income tax returns filed in 2020.

“State government is sitting on $1.6 billion of Oregonians money that will do more good in the hands of families than stashed away in a Salem vault," Helt said.

"The Legislature should lead now, to help families and small business weather this financial storm. School closures, shutdowns and social distancing are critical to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but they also mean financial hardships for the wallets and jobs of Oregon families. Let’s come together to act now.”

Helt is urging Gov. Kate Brown and Republican and Democrat leaders to fashion a bipartisan, 24-hour special session by the end of March to approve the tax relief package, complete unfinished business from the February legislative session and pass additional public health and economic measures to combat the COVID-19 coronavirus.

In the next few days, Congress is set to approve, and President Trump is expected to sign, an initial relief package that will make roughly $50 billion available for states and localities to cope with the fallout from the virus outbreak.

“If President Trump and Nancy Pelosi can come together for America, I know that Republicans and Democrats in Oregon can move beyond the recent gridlock to help Oregonians meet this crisis," she said. We should start by pumping $1.6 billion in tax relief into Oregon’s economy by Memorial Day,” concluded Helt.

Article Topic Follows: Coronavirus

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