Oregon's economy still hasn't recovered to pre-recession levels, but state economists told lawmakers Wednesday that job growth is driving an expected increase in tax revenue for the state.
Every revenue forecast has an unexpected quirk. This time it was about Oregon's estate tax. State economist Mark McMullen says the rich seem to be living longer.
"Estate taxes in Oregon over the last six months are as low as they've been in a decade," he said. "I don't know if we're healthier or what."
Despite that twist, overall revenue projections are actually up by about $54 million above last quarter’s forecast. McMullen says that's a sign of a slow-but-steady economic recovery.
The positive forecast won't require any changes to the state budget for now. But another economic uptick could trigger Oregon's unique kicker law. That's when tax revenue exceeds predictions by more than 2 percent. The excess amount is refunded back to taxpayers.
Legislative budget-writers won't know if there's a kicker until sometime next year.