Capitol Updates - HD 31 Vol. 5

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Representative Brian Stout

Hello Friends & Neighbors,

Mark your calendars...Spring is just around the corner.  The first day of Spring is Monday, March 20, which means snow is no longer in the forecast and the call is for more sun and warmer temperatures.  Whether you follow baseball, or love gardening, or spending time outdoors, spring is the season of hope that things will be brighter.  "If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant," wrote English poet Anne Bradstreet. "If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."

This Friday we celebrate St. Patrick's Day and the Ides of March.  In Salem, March 17 marks the day that hundreds of bills filled with the hopes and dreams of legislators and lobbyists alike will die if they haven't already been scheduled for a committee vote.  It is a sign that the Legislature is accelerating its pace and narrowing the focus on the issues legislators believe their constituents care about most.

Baseball & House floor

Spring is planting season.

Last week, the Oregon Small Woodlands Association (OSWA), Columbia Chapter, held their 24th Annual Seedling Sale. Many property owners, including myself, from my district came out to purchase these seedlings at an incredible price and to support our local OSWA chapter.

OSWA is a member-based association that represents small woodland owners in Oregon. Their members own between 1 and 5,000 acres of land with trees growing on their property.  The association provides members with:

  • Opportunities to get together with others with similar interests and to collaborate with others on a variety of common issues.
  • Resources for current information and technologies
  • Representation to the state legislature, state agencies, and state boards and commissions
  • Collaboration with sister organizations at the state, regional, and federal level
  • A common voice on all issues important to Oregon's small woodland owners
  • Opportunities to participate in developing forest carbon markets, should they decide to do so.
Tree Sale

Educational Success!

Online School image

Repeated statewide polling has shown that Oregonians feel that the education system is on the wrong track and that curriculum and academic standards are a primary concern.  Polling also shows that Oregonians of all political parties are ready to expand school choice in Oregon. Families who can afford it often choose their neighborhood public schools by moving to a residence within their desired school's assigned district. For many families, that option is enough.  But there are many more ways for families to choose the best educational setting for their kids.

There is now a multitude of school options for K-9 children. Options now include:

  • Public school
  • Private school
  • Charter Schools - independently run public schools.
  • Magnet Schools - a public school that offers specialized curricula and programs not available in traditional neighborhood public schools.
  • Inter/Intra-district public school choice - this allows families to choose traditional public schools other than the ones the government assigned based on their ZIP code.
  • Homeschooling - alternative form of education for children outside of public or private schools, typically within their own homes.
  • Hybrid homeschooling - an educational model where students split their time between homeschooling and a traditional classroom setting.
  • Online/Virtual learning - allows students to work with their curriculum and teachers over the internet - in combination with, or in place of, traditional classroom learning.
Aiden on floor

This week, legislators, including myself, had visits from students attending online/virtual school. These students had the opportunity to meet with their local representatives and senators and discuss their education priorities such as... 

  • Elimination of the arbitrary 3% cap on public virtual charter schools.
  • Expanded Education Savings Accounts to start before college for parents pursuing non-public education options.
  • Guaranteed comprehensive parental rights in education.
  • Require curriculum be available online for review by parents.
  • Reinstate high school graduation requirements.

 I had the pleasure of sharing my workplace with Aiden Williams, from Deer Island, including taking him to the House floor. 

Your Money, Your Kicker!!

Flag & Dollars

Inflation. Bank failures. Recession. Interest rates. Unemployment. Increased taxes. Debt ceiling. Housing costs. While we hear and read so much about these topics in the local and national news, how it affects you is most important to you. 


Several weeks ago, our governor and state economists released the state's revenue forecast. The House Republican Caucus released the following statement: "The quarterly revenue forecast revealed our state's economy and revenue influx is stable. However, we must not forget the reality Oregonians are experiencing on a daily basis - inflation at a rate of over 8 percent, gas at nearly 4 dollars a gallon, and a dozen eggs which cost even more than that.

"The State of Oregon experienced a historic infusion of federal funding, but Oregonians and the Legislature must face the reality that these funds have ended. For the remainder of the 2023 Legislative Session, we must pursue fiscal responsibility, which includes leaving our Education Stability Fund and rainy-day funds alone.

"We must return Oregon's 'kicker' back into the hands of hardworking Oregonians."

These quarterly updates inform legislators how much money we have for the state's next budget cycle. They also determined the Kicker. They projected that Oregon taxpayers would get a $3.938 billion kicker credit on their 2023 taxes. The average Oregon taxpayer will be receiving an estimated $5,200 income tax refund in 2024!! The kicker refund exists because the state over-collected income taxes by three (3) billion dollars. By law, this unexpected budget surplus is supposed to go back to the people who created the surplus - Oregon taxpayers.

Don't spend that money yet.  Not only does our Governor want to take away future kickers by raising the budget beyond the revenue already coming into the state coffers, which would require you to pay more taxes, but there are some lawmakers who have introduced bills, such as HJR 21, which would loot the people's kicker Income Tax refund and give each person the same portion on a per-capita basis.  This means that a single mom working two jobs who would get a $5,000 Kicker Refund will now get less because an employee who only worked three weeks in the year would get as much as the single mom.  And this isn't the only proposed bill that could change the amount of your Kicker Refund.

We must win this fight against bills like this, because the consequences of losing are just as staggering. If we lose this fight, you will not only lose your kicker tax refund, but we will also have set budget levels so high that, come the next budget, taxes will have to be raised to pay for it. If we cannot afford a 26-percent budget boost now (without a massive kicker raid), how will we afford it in the next budget? You can't. Nobody can.

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We love seeing our community in the Capitol!

Brian & Aiden

My staff and I are here to help you! If you have a problem, question or comment, please feel free to email me at I do ask you to PLEASE include your phone number and your address. This allows me to call you to follow up or ask any questions I might have. Your address lets me know that you're a constituent. I get hundreds of emails every week, but I always make sure that constituents get top priority. If you'd prefer, you can call us at 503.986.1431.

If you'd like to visit me in Salem, you're always welcome to come by! If you drop by without an appointment, I'll do my best to meet with you, but to ensure that I don't have any other commitments, please call or email first for an appointment. That way I can make sure to give you my undivided attention.

To stay connected, please follow me on Facebook or sign up to receive my e-newsletters, as they are published, by emailing me or calling my office.

Thank you so much for this opportunity to be your State Representative.


Brian's signature

Representative Brian Stout
House District 31

Capitol Phone: 503-986-1431
Capitol Address: 900 Court St. NE, H-380, Salem, Oregon 97301