Exactly who qualifies for the Oregon Rebate?

The short answer is "every Oregonian." The fine print is in SECTION 2. The Oregon Rebate (page 2, lines 1-9):

  • "Each individual" means that you have to be a human being (in ORS 316.027 -- Personal Income Tax, a "natural person," not a corporation).
  • To qualify for the rebate you also have to have been a resident of Oregon for more than 200 of the previous calendar year. Why 200? The Alaska Permanent Fund requires a full year of residence, but we thought that was too much and we also thought it good to be consistent with ORS 316.027 -- Personal Income Tax in using the "in the aggregate more than 200 days" standard.

    The 165th day of the year is June 14 (or June 13 in leap years), someone who becomes a resident of Oregon on, or before, that day would qualify.

    The 201st day of the year is July 20 (or July 19 in leap years), someone who stops being a resident of Oregon on, or after, that day would also qualify.
  • Lastly, what if an Oregonian is born or passes away but misses the 200-day mark? They also qualify because it'd be cruel for them to not.
How is the amount of the rebate “about $750 for every Oregonian" calculated?

The math behind the Oregon Rebate is pretty simple:

  • The Oregon Rebate is expected to raise at least $3 billion per year...
  • There are about 4 million Oregonians...
  • Rebating (dividing) $3 billion to (by) 4 million Oregonians is about $750 for every Oregonian!

Other costs and expenses, like those incurred by the state making the rebates and administering the Hold Harmless provisions are also accounted and paid for.

Will receiving the Oregon Rebate affect my income-based benefits?

We went to great lengths to protect Oregonians’ income-based benefits. For example, the text of the initiative petition makes it clear that the rebate:

  • “Is not income subject to taxation under ORS chapter 316 or any other provision of Oregon law” (page 2, lines 2-4)
  • “May not be used to determine the eligibility or amount of need of an applicant for or recipient of benefits, including public assistance, as defined in ORS 411.010, and medical assistance, as defined in ORS 414.025;” (page 2, lines 15-17)
  • “Is inalienable by any assignment or transfer, is exempt from garnishment, levy or execution (page 2, lines 18-19)
  • Also, SECTION 4. Hold Harmless: Avoiding Reduction of Benefits (page 4, lines 14-28) directs the Department of Human Services to protect these benefits by seeking waivers or other exemptions and reimburse or "make whole" anyone who's benefits are reduced because they received a rebate.
Will owner-operated businesses benefit from the Oregon Rebate?

Yes! Owner-operated businesses will benefit from the Oregon Rebate in at least two ways:

  1. First of all, the revenue side of Oregon Rebate almost certainly does not apply to you and starts to balance the corporate tax field.

    If you are an owner-operated business, your in-state revenue is probably less than $25 million per year (or $68,493 every single day), which is below the threshold for the proposed higher minimum tax. In fact, there's only 2,000 that report more than $25 million of yearly revenue, you are probably not one of them and congratulations if you are!

    Furthermore, as an owner-operated business, you probably pay somewhere between 5%-10% in Oregon taxes. Meanwhile, the biggest corporations can afford to pay an army or lawyers and accountants to slash their tax burden all the way down to less than 1%. How is that fair?

    If you can afford to pay 5%-10%, they can afford to pay 3%. It's that simple.
  2. The Oregon Rebate is money in your personal pocket, a raise for all of your employers, and additional spending money to all of your customers!
    • Oregon owner-operators and their families also qualify for the Oregon Rebate.
    • For your employees, the rebate is basically a raise. They will be better able to afford the things they need, be it transportation, healthcare, housing, etc.
    • Similarly for your customers, it just makes sense that when people have more money, they spend more money. Some of it maybe in your business! 
    My business already pays 3% or more in Oregon taxes, will that change?

    No! The Oregon Rebate sets the minimum tax for huge corporations at 3%, those that make more than $25 million of revenue in Oregon every year. If your business is already paying 3% or more in taxes, you are already above the minimum and therefore your taxes won’t change.

    Oh, and each of your customers will have about an extra $750 to spend – maybe in your business!

    Is the Oregon Rebate similar to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD)?

    Yes and no. We studied the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) when drafting the Oregon Rebate so there are some similarities and some important differences. 

    Both are “direct cash transfer programs,” and Alaskans absolutely love their Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (it consistently polls around 80% support, it helps the local economy, reduces poverty, and has it has been repeatedly found that it does not have negative consequences like reducing people’s willingness to work). Everybody in Alaska does a better because of their Permanent Fund Dividend, and we expect the same in Oregon.

    Notable differences are that the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend averages about $1,350 per person, while the Oregon Rebate will about $750; the residency requirements of the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is 365 days, while for the Oregon Rebate it is 200+ days; and the Oregon Rebate does not create a “fund,” which is in principle not a bad idea but in practice creates an incentive in Alaska for politicians to fight over the giant pool of money in the fund on a regular basis. We thought it’d be good to avoid that problem!

    Of course, the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend is funded by oil extraction taxes, while the Oregon Rebate is funded by the money Oregonians give huge corporations: after $25 million, 3% of it will now be rebated (returned) to us.

    Extra point: Do you think that people in Alaska blame their Permanent Fund Dividend checks for the cost of gas in their state? Spoiler: No, they don’t.

    Will these $25+ million corporations pass on the new higher minimum tax to consumers?

    They always say that they will do that, but in fact it's just a threat to try to scare voters because they don't want to pay their taxes. Let's not fall for it! 

    The fact that these corporations currently pay less taxes in Oregon than in any other state shows that prices and a tax rate as low as what we are proposing do not go and-in-hand. After all, if that were the case, why aren't prices lower in Oregon?

    These huge corporations don't pass on their savings from having lower taxes in Oregon to consumers in lower prices or employees in higher wages. It just means that for every dollar they sell in Oregon, these corporations just make more money in Oregon than in other states!


    • Large corporations set their prices nationally, or at least regionally.
      Same goes for pay and other policies. This has been studied extensively, but just think about your experience: When you shop online, it doesn't matter where you are (except for shipping costs).
    • Previous worst-case scenario research on similar initiatives suggested a possible increase of about $600 more per family per year. The Oregon Rebate will be about $2,250 for the typical Oregon 3-person household. Any way you slice it, Oregonians will be ahead with the Oregon Rebate.
    • Lastly, but perhaps most important, the best answer to this question is for Oregonians to take their rebates to owner-operated, local businesses as much as possible!
    Will corporations leave Oregon because of the Oregon Rebate?

    Haha! We think it's pretty ridiculous to suggest that business owners will leave a market (Oregon) because their customers have more money to spend in the communities where they do business.

    After all, customers are the only thing that cannot be outsourced!

    Who will administer the Oregon Rebate?

    By design, the Oregon Rebate has a very low administrative footprint for both corporations and the State of Oregon.

    The Oregon Rebate just changes the rate of the minimum corporate rate that’s currently in existence, it is not a new tax. Corporations with more than $25 million of Oregon revenue will pay taxes the same as they do now, but with the higher minimum tax (from today’s less than 1% to 3%). If a corporation’s in-state revenue is less than $25 million or if it is already paying 3% or more in state taxes today, they will see no difference. For the State of Oregon, administering the Oregon Rebate will be simple and straightforward. It’ll basically feel like a “kicker” that goes out every year. The Department of Revenue will collect the new revenue just like it currently does, with minimal administrative overhead.

    We expect most Oregonians to request their rebate through their state tax filings, which should be easiest for both Oregonians and the State. Oregonians who request their rebate not with their taxes will just have to complete a simple form to receive their rebate. In either case, the State’s administrative burden is limited to cross-referencing the eligibility of the recipient and issuing the rebate through an electronic payment or paper check.

    Of course, the administrative costs of administering the Oregon Rebate are accounted and paid for by the new revenue
    (page 2, lines 40-44 – note the “minus” at the end of line 40).