Tax Cuts

As our state's newly inaugurated legislative session continues, there's been no shortage of bills that've attracted attention from the national media -- for less than favorable reasons -- including bills that would ban "hoodies" or AP History classes, or those that would allow Oklahoma businesses to discriminate against their gay customers or else end civil marriages altogether. What we have not seen -- not yet, anyway -- is a responsible discussion of how to fill a $611 million shortfall in next year's budget.

While the debate in Washington, amid these dreaded days of "sequestration," is about whether to increase revenues or cut spending --- or somehow achieve a compromise that does both --- here in Oklahoma, the state legislature is (once again) looking to reduce tax revenues. This comes despite the fact that our state currently has a number of extremely pressing needs vis a vis education, DHS, corrections, and infrastructure --- as well as, of course, the long-term and likewise urgent problem of pension liabilities.

Some are dismayed no tax cuts passed the Oklahoma legislature, others are pleased. It’s a battle that will continue in the next session. Count among those pleased with the failure of tax cuts this year, David Blatt with the Oklahoma Policy Institute think tank. He says there must be a much broader debate on tax reform that doesn’t just start with the premise there must be tax cuts.

Oklahoma Senate approves another tax cut bill

Mar 14, 2012
State of Oklahoma / Tulsa Senator Mike Mazzei

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A proposal to slash Oklahoma's personal and corporate income tax and offset the lost revenue by eliminating dozens of tax breaks has cleared the Oklahoma Senate.

The Senate voted 27-16 on Tuesday for the bill by Tulsa Republican Sen. Mike Mazzei, one of four separate proposals to reduce the state's personal income tax being considered by lawmakers this year.