Plaintiffs appeal the trial court's summary judgment in favor of defendants
Plaintiffs are Oregon taxpayers. The essence of their claim is that, for the reasons set forth in more detail below, the state incorrectly determined the amount of money available for "kicker" tax refunds to taxpayers for the 1999-2001 biennium, thus reducing the "kicker" tax refund by about one-third—more than $113 million. In the trial court, both parties moved for summary judgment. The trial court denied plaintiffs' motion and granted the state's motion. Plaintiffs appeal, arguing that the trial court erred as a matter of law in interpreting and applying the legislation that authorized the transfer of certain monies into a new account and that, alternatively, if the trial court interpreted and applied the legislation correctly, the legislation ran afoul of Article IV, sections 18, 20, and 25, of the Oregon Constitution. We do not reach the constitutional issues because
In an appeal from a judgment that results from cross-motions for summary judgment, if both the granting of one motion and the denial of the other are assigned as error, then both are reviewable. Each party has the burden of demonstrating that there are no material issues of fact and that the movant is entitled to judgment as a matter of law. We review the record for each motion in the light most favorable to the party opposing it. Eden Gate, Inc. v. D & L Excavating & Trucking, Inc., 178 Or.App. 610, 622, 37 P.3d 233 (2002). In this case, the parties agree that the pertinent facts are not in dispute, and that the disputed issues are issues of law.
ORS 291.349(1) provides, in part:
Pursuant to that statute, after the adjournment of the 1999 regular session of the legislature, the Oregon Department of Administrative Services (DAS) estimated that the General Fund revenues for the 1999-2001 biennium other than from corporate income and excise taxes would be $9,112,459,000. That sum included $80,069,114 in anticipated Medicaid Upper Payment Limit funds (MUPL funds), which the 1999 legislature had explicitly directed were to be transferred to the General Fund, beginning July 1, 1999. See Or. Laws 1999, ch. 16, § 9.
During the 1999-2001 biennium, the General Fund revenues other than from corporate income and excise taxes received by the state totaled $9,366,962,167, not including the MUPL funds. The state also received $113,249,821 in MUPL funds, which were deposited into the General Fund.
ORS 291.349(4) describes the circumstances in which the state is obligated to pay a "kicker" refund to eligible personal income taxpayers:
Thus, under ORS 291.349(4), when "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" during a biennium exceed the projections previously made under subsection (1) by more than two percent, the excess is refunded to personal income taxpayers in the form of "kicker" checks issued pursuant to the methodology prescribed in ORS 291.349(6).
On June 11, 2001, three weeks before the end of the 1999-2001 biennium, the 2001 legislature enacted Senate Bill (SB) 963. Senate Bill 963 provided:
"SECTION 1. (1) The Medicaid Upper Payment Limit Account is established in the State Treasury separate and distinct
(Emphasis added.) The governor signed SB 963 into law on June 18, 2001.
On June 28, 2001—two days before SB 963's effective date—the Department of Human Services (DHS) transferred $113,249,821 of MUPL funds out of the General Fund and into the newly created Medicaid Upper Payment Limit Account.
After the adjournment of the legislature, the amount of "kicker" tax refunds for the 1999-2001 biennium was calculated pursuant to ORS 291.349(4). That calculation excluded the MUPL funds that had been transferred out of the General Fund and into the newly created account just before the end of the biennium pursuant to SB 963. If those funds had been included, the amount of the 2001 personal income tax "kicker" would have been $367,752,988. Without those funds, the amount of the 2001 "kicker" was calculated as $254,503,167.
In June 2001, plaintiffs initiated this action for declaratory and injunctive relief, asserting that they, as taxpayers, were entitled to have their "kicker" refunds for the 1999-2001 biennium calculated based on the inclusion of the MUPL funds as "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources." ORS 291.349(4). Specifically, they sought to (1) enjoin the state to include the MUPL payments in computing the 2001 "kicker" under ORS 291.349; (2) require DAS to revise its 1999 estimate of General Fund revenues to exclude the amount of MUPL funds the state expected to receive during the 1999-2001 biennium; or (3) have SB 963 declared unconstitutional. Plaintiffs further asserted an entitlement to attorney fees pursuant to Deras v. Myers, 272 Or. 47, 535 P.2d 541 (1975). The parties stipulated to most of the relevant facts and filed cross-motions for summary judgment. The trial court denied plaintiffs' motion and granted the state's motion.
On appeal, plaintiffs argue that the trial court erred in denying their motion for summary judgment and granting the state's motion. Plaintiffs reiterate the arguments they made to the trial court. With respect to the proper interplay between SB 963 and ORS 291.349, plaintiffs advance three primary statutory arguments. First, SB 963, although directing transfer of the MUPL funds out of the General Fund, nevertheless did not alter the application of the formula set forth in ORS 291.349 for calculation of the kicker. That is so because that calculation is based on revenues "received from General Fund revenue sources." ORS 291.349(4) (emphasis added). Thus, plaintiffs assert, regardless of any subsequent transfer of the MUPL funds out of the General Fund, they were "received from General Fund revenue sources" during the biennium and must be included in the "kicker" calculation.
Second, plaintiffs assert, the MUPL funds were never lawfully transferred into the new account because the transfer actually occurred on June 28, 2001, two days before SB 963's effective date of June 30, 2001. Thus, the MUPL funds must be treated as remaining in the General Fund.
Third, plaintiffs contend that, even assuming that SB 963 could somehow retroactively
As described below, we do not reach and resolve plaintiffs' second and third statutory arguments, or any of their constitutional arguments, because we agree with their first statutory argument. We conclude that, regardless of the subsequent enactment of SB 963(2001)the MUPL funds were "received from General Fund revenue sources * * * during the [1999-2001] biennium," ORS 291.349(4), and, consequently, had to be included in the "kicker" calculation. (Emphasis added.)
Plaintiffs' argument in that regard is straightforward: SB 963, regardless of its intent, may have authorized the transfer of the MUPL funds from the General Fund before the end of the biennium, but that transfer could not, and did not, transform the MUPL funds into something other than "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" during the 1999-2001 biennium for purposes of ORS 291.349(4). Bluntly: Once "received," always "received."
The state responds that ORS 291.349(4) requires DAS to determine, at the end of the biennium, what General Fund revenues were received during the biennium and that if, "during the biennium, the legislature changes the nature of revenues received as it did in SB 963, those funds cannot be included in DAS's final calculation under this statute." That approach begs the question of whether, by enacting SB 963, the legislature did or could actually "change the nature" of the revenues received for purposes of the ORS 291.349(4) calculation.
We return, then, to ORS 291.349(4). In construing that provision—and, particularly, the critical term "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources"—we must view the statutory text in context, giving words of common usage their plain, natural, and ordinary meaning. PGE v. Bureau of Labor and Industries, 317 Or. 606, 611, 859 P.2d 1143 (1993). We read the text in context in light of maxims of statutory construction that bear directly on the text. See id. (first level of statutory construction includes "rules of construction that bear directly on the interpretation of the statutory provision in context"). One such maxim is that, "[a]bsent any indication to the contrary, we assume that statutory terms have the same meaning throughout a statute." Knapp v. City of North Bend, 304 Or. 34, 41, 741 P.2d 505 (1987). Similarly, when a term is used consistently throughout numerous statutes in a manner indicating that the legislature intended the term to be given its plain meaning, that suggests that, whenever the legislature uses that term, it means the same thing. See, e.g., State v. Holloway, 138 Or.App. 260, 266-67, 908 P.2d 324 (1995).
The term "General Fund" is used consistently throughout the Oregon statutes to refer to the fund into which monies are deposited pursuant to ORS 293.105 and ORS 293.110. For example, ORS 293.105 and ORS 293.110 describe the state General Fund and what monies the State Treasurer is required to place in the General Fund. Specifically, ORS 293.110 provides, in part:
"* * * * *
We thus conclude that General Fund revenues are monies collected and received by the state that are designated by law "to be paid into and become a part of the General Fund." ORS 293.110(1).
Oregon Laws 1999, chapter 916, section 9(2), see 193 Or.App. at 217-18 n. 4, 89 P.3d at 1191 n. 4, embodied such a designation. That statute "specifically established in the law," ORS 293.110(2)(h), that MUPL funds received during the biennium beginning July 1, 1999, "shall be transferred to the General Fund." It is undisputed that the $113,249,821 at issue in this case was received during the biennium beginning July 1, 1999, and transferred to the General Fund while Oregon Laws 1999, chapter 916, section 9(2) was in effect. Thus, we conclude that the disputed MUPL funds were "paid into and bec[a]me a part of the General Fund." ORS 293.110(1).
Given that conclusion, it follows that DAS was required to (and, in fact, did) include in its estimate of General Fund revenues at the beginning of the 1999-2001 biennium the amount of MUPL funds that were estimated to be received during that biennium. ORS 291.349(1). The question, then, reduces to whether, by virtue of SB 963(2001), funds that (a) were included in the General Fund revenue projection for purposes of ORS 291.349(1) and (b) were later received by the state and deposited into the General Fund during the biennium somehow became something other than "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" for purposes of subsection (4) of the same statute.
We conclude that they did not. Subsection (4) itself establishes a necessary congruence between the estimated General Fund revenues described in subsection (1) and the revenues received from General Fund revenue sources described in subsection (4). Specifically, ORS 291.349(4) itself explicitly mandates a comparison of the amounts of "the revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" with "the amounts estimated to be received from such sources for the biennium." The terminology is congruent, and it is employed in the context of a statute that, essentially, prescribes a mathematical calculation. Nothing in the text or context of the statute suggests that the legislature, in enacting
In sum, at PGE's first level, the only plausible reading of "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" as used in ORS 291.349(4) is that that term refers to revenues actually received by the state that were required, under ORS 293.105 and ORS 293.110, to "be paid into and become part of the General Fund," ORS 293.110, and that DAS was required to include in its estimate under ORS 291.349(1). Accordingly, the transferred MUPL funds were "revenues received from General Fund revenue sources" for purposes of ORS 291.349(4).
Nothing in SB 963, and specifically the retroactivity provision of section (3) of SB 963, altered that reality. As noted, see 193 Or.App. at 219-20, 89 P.3d at 1192, section(1) of SB 963 required the creation of a MUPL account that is separate from the General Fund, while section (3) specified that the requirement that DAS transfer MUPL funds into the newly created account "applies to payments received by the department before the effective date of this 2001 Act." Section (3) thus required DAS to transfer MUPL funds that previously had been deposited into the General Fund pursuant to Oregon Laws 1999, chapter 916, section 9, out of the General Fund and into the newly-created account. The requirement that the funds be transferred out of the General Fund, however, did not alter the fact that they were "paid into and bec[a]me part of the General Fund," ORS 293.110, at the time that they were deposited there pursuant to Oregon Laws 1999, chapter 916, section 9. Thus, regardless of the legislature's later disposition of those funds, they were "received from General Fund revenue sources," ORS 291.349(4), when they were properly placed in the General Fund pursuant to Oregon Laws 1999, chapter 916, section 9, and ORS 293.110 in the first instance. That the legislature redirected those funds elsewhere before the end of the biennium did not alter the practical and statutory reality that those revenues were received from a General Fund revenue source.
We thus conclude that the trial court erred in denying plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment on the statutory issue described above, and consequently erred in granting defendant's motion for summary judgment and in denying its motion.
Reversed and remanded.