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OK House Considering Income Tax Cut Bills

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OKLAHOMA CITY Okla_ 7News has new information on the push in the Oklahoma House to cut the state income tax rate.

One of the bills is sponsored by House Speaker T.W. Shannon of Lawton. It would reduce the rate from 5.25% to 5%. The other would drop the rate to 4.99%. Both measures would cost the state about $120M annually when fully implemented. That's where the opposition comes in.

Speaker Shannon and to Democratic Representative Joe Dorman of Rush Springs, who voted against both bills. Everyone wants the same thing; they just have completely different ideas on how to get there.

The financial crisis is a vicious cycle. To help the people, we hurt the state; to help the state, we hurt the people. As 2012 disappeared, so did some of our money. Everyone has seen a little less of their paycheck this year, thanks to the payroll tax increase that kicked in January 1st, and Speaker Shannon said it's not right.

"Each time the government takes a dollar from you, they are taking a little piece of your freedom," Shannon said.

He said the economy problem stems from a government spending issue, and that the problem shouldn't be fixed by taking more money from the people.

"If you want capital and investment to flow, the government has to move back and allow people to work," Shannon said. "Allow private free market principles to work. We are excited to allow hardworking Oklahomans to keep more of their hardworking money."

The speaker said surrounding states have done a great job in eliminating their state income tax or at least reducing it, and we need to follow suit to stay competitive.

"If Oklahoma is going to be attractive, if Oklahoma is going to be the place of preference to do business and raise a family, we have got to keep our tax burden low," Shannon said.

The opposition said we need to worry more about the people we already have. While a little extra change in the pocket would be beneficial for Oklahomans, Senator Joe Dorman said the extra money most middle class workers would see wouldn't be worth the loss in state revenue.

"For your average Oklahomans, you're only going to see a very little reduction in savings from this tax plan," Dorman said.

He said your small savings would badly hurt the state, especially when you consider yearly inflation and Governor Fallin's plan for an increase in spending in certain areas. Also, the state has to fund the services it already has.

"We still have to find a way to fix potholes," Dorman said, "To pay troopers on the road. We still have to find a way to pay for fire protection and school teachers."

Dorman argues the numbers just don't add up.

"We've got to find a way to pay the bills and be responsible for our state budgets before we go through and make any reductions," Dorman said.

Shannon said the money would not come from government services, but from growth revenue. That means it would come from money that is generated above and beyond what the state expects to have. He said they've already seen $200M in growth this year. Dorman thinks no matter what, we would only be able to replace about half the money we would lose.

The income tax cuts would be permanent if they are approved.  

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