Senate Approves Quarter Percent Oklahoma Income Tax Cut

Feb 27, 2014

The Senate passed a bill by Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman (R-Sapulpa) that would lower Oklahoma's income tax rate to below 5 percent if the state’s economy continues to improve.
Credit Oklahoma Senate

The state Senate approved a bill Thursday morning that would cut the Oklahoma income tax rate a quarter of a percent down to five. The bill passed on a 32-10 margin, with mostly Democrats opposing it.

Minority leader Sean Burrage (D-Claremore) argued nearly 40 percent of residents won't see any tax break, and would rather have the state pay for good schools, rather than receive less than $100 back on their income taxes. 

The Senate-approved plan would cut the top rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent once certified collections to Oklahoma's General Revenue Fund increase by about $86 million.

'We owe this to the taxpayers of Oklahoma and today we fulfilled that promise made last year.' - State Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City)

Gov. Mary Fallin called the tax cut an important way to stimulate the economy.

"I am open to any and all plans, including the measure passed by the Senate today, that responsibly reduce the income tax rate," Fallin said in a statement. "I am pleased the Legislature is examining several different tax cut proposals."

Bingman's bill includes a second trigger that would further reduce the rate to 4.85 percent once additional revenue collection benchmarks are reached.

Earlier this month the state Board of Equalization increased its estimated revenue shortfall for Fiscal Year 2015 to $188 million, $17 million more than an earlier projection of $171 million.

“We believe this year’s budget shortfall is an anomaly and anticipate revenue growth in the years to come as our state’s economy continues to grow," Bingman said in a statement. "We believe the taxpayers of Oklahoma deserve to have some of that growth returned to them to spend how they see fit.”

The Oklahoma Tax Commission estimates a .25 percent reduction amounts to about $147 million in taxes statewide annually.

“This is a fiscally responsible proposal that keeps our commitment to the taxpayers to reduce their tax burden while also protecting core government services like education, public safety and roads and bridges with reasonable benchmarks,” state Sen. Mike Mazzei (R-Tulsa) said in a statement. He carried the bill on the floor.


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