SALEM - On the same day the Oregon Senate voted to strip millions of dollars from education and social services, a bipartisan group of lawmakers said they would ask voters to surrender an occasional "kicker" tax refund to avoid similar cuts in the future.

"Any time you mess with the kicker, you do it at great travail," said Sen. Frank Morse, a Republican from Albany. "This is an issue that supersedes that.

Morse was among a group of state legislators who unveiled a plan Tuesday that would spin future tax surpluses into the state's Rainy Day Fund rather than back to taxpayers.

The move could prove controversial because Oregonians have already voted to lock the kicker into the state Constitution.

Still, it would give Oregon more flexibility during economic downturns "so when hard times hit, we're not closing schools, we're not closing courts, we're not taking state police off the road," said Sen. Ginny Burdick, a Portland Democrat and chairwoman of the Senate's Revenue Committee. "The next time we have one of these downturns we will not suffer so much pain."

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