Gov. Mary Fallin said Monday she feels heartened after talking with the House Republican caucus about the prospects of getting an income-tax cut proposal this year.
“I think we've got a great opportunity to get a tax reform package to my desk to lower taxes in our state,” Fallin said after meeting with House Republicans in their closed caucus meeting.
House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said afterward that discussions are ongoing about the size of the cut and when such a cut would take effect.
“My main goal is to get as much reduction for the people of Oklahoma as possible,” he said. “If I can get more of a reduction by delaying it one year, I'm open for it.”
Fallin and Shannon proposed a simple reduction of the top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, effective Jan. 1.
Senate Republicans rewrote the proposal, contained in House Bill 2032; it now calls for reducing the top personal income tax rate to 4.95 percent, taking effect in 2015.
It also ends the practice of five popular economic tax credits being sold to others who need to reduce their income tax liability to the state.
Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said his caucus also may consider more changes, such as eliminating or reducing tax credits or deductions. Opponents of eliminating certain credits or deductions last year helped lead the defeat of several income tax-cutting bills.
Asked about Bingman's comments, Fallin said, “I think you'll find that tax breaks will be a separate issue from a tax cut.”
Nathan Atkins, Bingman's spokesman, said the pro tem remains committed to a responsible tax cut.
“He also remains committed to continuing a thoughtful discussion about tax reform,” Atkins said.
Fallin said talks are continuing among her, Shannon and Bingman.
“I think we're coming very close to finding common ground,” she said.