State Capitol
5:03 pm
Thu April 4, 2013

Tax Cut Tussle: House Speaker Says Reduction Can't Wait

A new plan to reduce Oklahoma's top personal income tax rate has emerged in the Senate with a delay until 2015, but that change is not supported by House Speaker T.W. Shannon.

Oklahoma House Speaker T.W. Shannon
Credit Oklahoma House

“I think that’s a fundamental step in the wrong direction,” Shannon said. “We need to provide tax relief now and not delay it another year.”

The Senate revisions were to a House bill that is the last tax cut legislation alive this session. The proposal was approved by the Senate Finance Committee this morning with two Democrats voting against it.

House Bill 2032 drops the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.95 percent, starting in 2015. It would also eliminate the transferability of five separate tax credits, making them refundable.

Senate Finance Committee Chair Mike Mazzei says the changes are for credits on coal mining, wind power, rehabilitation of historic buildings, energy efficient home construction and railroad modernization.

Mazzei says switching those tax credits to refunds would allow the public to know how much money they cost state government.

Democrats, including the minority leaders in the House and Senate, say now is not the time to cut taxes. They say state government should fund its core services, which have been cut during the recession.