• State Tax Commission, Economist, 1964-1973.
  • State Tax Commission, Supervisor Research Section, 1968-1973.
  • Legislative Revenue Officer, 1974-1983.
  • Department of Revenue, Director, 1984-1996.

About Richard Munn

Richard Munn served as one of Oregon’s key economists and revenue experts from the 1970s through the mid-1990s. Munn’s recent oral history showcases his encyclopedic knowledge of Oregon’s tax history. It ranges from the pre-state Territorial period through the first years following the passage of the state’s property tax limitation law, Measure 5.

Munn grew up in the San Francisco Bay area of California. He moved to Oregon for his undergraduate degree in economics and attended the University of Oregon. Upon his graduation, he took a job in state government forecast the state revenue system. His job changed and he ended up working with the House and Senate Revenue Committee to give estimates of revenue effects of proposed bills.

Munn then served as the first director of the Legislative Revenue Office (LRO). He and his staff economists provided legislators with crucial revenue information for a wide variety of legislation. They gave revenue information for legislation from proposed bills through enacted law. Known for their host of rolling chalkboards, LRO economists learned to effectively communicate complicated tax and revenue issues to legislators. They hoped to “provide objective non-partisan information that will help them make a judgment of either yes or no.” Munn marvels at how the legislative process is so thoroughly an oral process even though it results in written law and policy.

He further shares his views on the role Oregon voters have directly shaped the tax system we have in the state, including repeatedly voting down a state sales tax. Whether educating legislators or traveling across the state to meet the public in hearings about revenue issues, Richard Munn reveals himself to be not only the consummate economist, but the consummate educator.

– Interview recorded June 25, 2021