When the state of Oregon takes in more money than it expected, taxpayers get a refund. That refund is called a kicker, and Oregonians will soon get their first one in six years.
Salem correspondent Chris Lehman got a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to get more than a million checks in the mail.
More than a billion dollars worth of kicker checks are being prepared at a state printing plant in Salem.
It’s Tim Landgren’s job to make sure they all get sent to the right person
Tim Landgren: “We have a camera in there that actually takes a picture of the address, searches the database that it’s got to find the bar code that matches the street address, and sprays the bar code on the piece, and then sorts it out into a pre-determined location.”
Of course, in the time it takes Landgren to explain it, thousands more checks have been processed. It has to be fast, since his crew has just a few weeks to print, fold and mail 1.7 million checks.
They’ll all be mailed the same day, but no one’s saying when that day will be. In fact, it’s literally a state secret.
Rosemary Hardin is with the Department of Revenue.
Rosemary Hardin: “We don’t divulge that because of security reasons, so that if there are any dishonest people out there who are laying in wait, waiting for kicker checks to be delivered to unsecure mailboxes, we don’t give the date out.”
In fact, the security surrounding the kicker checks is so high that visiting reporters weren’t allowed to actually see the checks being printed. Remember this sound?
That’s not really the sound of kicker checks being printed. The state printed off a round a fake checks for this photo op. The real checks were hidden safely away from the prying eyes of the media.
The state Department of Revenue says the average kicker check will be $612.