Quiet(er) Week for Revenue Deliberations, But Not Completely Quiet: The committees toned down their workload this week as the House spent more time on the floor and the Senate, well, didn't find its way to convene on the floor. Still, the committees spent a good amount of time focusing on the issues likely to drive the remaining weeks of the session. In particular, the chambers are drawing a line in the stand on the state's tax incentive programs and setting up a debate in the Joint Committee on Tax Expenditures. See further down for more on that conflict.
Senate Schedules Hearings on Kicker Repeal: The Senate Finance & Revenue Committee has canceled most of its hearings since the walkout began. In fact, the committee has only actually met in five of its last 16 planned hearings. During its last hearing before the walkout began, however, Chair Mark Meek (D-Oregon City) committed to the committee's progressive members he would hold hearings on their proposals to retain the $5.5 billion personal income tax kicker for this biennium.
The politics in the building changed drastically since that commitment, but the committee is moving forward with public hearings on the chamber's bills to withhold the kicker on Wednesday, May 31. SB 502 changes the close-of-session revenue forecast to account for the current estimated revenues. SB 774 prospectively repeals the statutory kicker provisions. And SJR 26 refers a constitutional amendment to voters repealing the personal income tax kicker (although it keeps the corporate kicker's dedication to public schools).
I try to avoid speaking in definitives, especially with a month to go in the session, but the kicker seems a little different. It takes a two-thirds majority vote to retain the kicker, the same threshold for quorum in either chamber. Considering the inability to obtain a quorum, let alone pass any measures in the Senate, it seems there is no universe where the legislature could find the votes to give these ideas any oxygen.