PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Oregon’s kicker is a hot topic every year, and this year the tax rebate is expected to be a real, well, kicker.

The kicker amount typically goes back to taxpayers in the form of a tax credit, based on how much in taxes they pay, when residents do their income taxes the following year, but some legislators have proposed using that money to fund resources for the state.

Hearings at the state Capitol on Wednesday proposed bills that would let the state keep some or all of the kicker, which is expected to be a record amount this year – more than $5 billion.

One measure would ask voters on an upcoming ballot whether they would like legislators to use the money for state resources – effectively ending the kicker, which was first passed by Oregon lawmakers in 1979 and then approved by Oregon voters in 1980.

There is also a measure to return two-thirds of the kicker to the public while keeping one-third to build up a fund for wildfire fighting. Bill sponsor Sen. Jeff Golden (D-Ashland) says that funding the resource – which has topped $500 million per year – would save lives.

In the past, the kicker was sent back to taxpayers as a check but is now a credit in the following year’s income taxes.

Some Republican senators leading an ongoing walkout say one of their demands to end the standstill is for the state to send out kicker checks again – and to send them out now.

However, the revenue committee has yet to vote on whether to send the measures to divert the kicker to the full Senate for a vote just yet.

Stay with KOIN 6 as this story develops.