Steady progress is being made preparing a budget for the upcoming fiscal year, which will take into account a cut in the state's personal income tax rate, Gov. Mary Fallin said Tuesday.
“My goal is to get an income tax cut this year,” she said. “We're still working on the range.”
Fallin, who proposed cutting the top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 3.5 percent, said she still is seeking to get the largest decrease possible. The failure of lawmakers to eliminate or reduce economic tax credits as well as delete personal income tax deductions and exemptions make it unlikely for that steep of a cut to occur in one of the state's largest sources of revenue.
Fallin said she met again Tuesday with House Speaker Kris Steele, R-Shawnee, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, about the budget and reducing the personal income tax rate.
Fallin said she doesn't anticipate a budget agreement this week.
“We're still running a lot of numbers, going through a lot of figures,” she said.
Steele has said he expects a budget agreement next week and doesn't expect lawmakers to l be able to adjourn earlier than the May 25 deadline.
Bingman, however, left open the possibility work could finish sooner.
“We'll leave when the work's done,” he said. “We'll be out of here hopefully by the end of the month. If we can get done a few days early, that'd be fantastic — but no promises at this point.”
Asked how far apart legislators and the governor are on an income tax deal, Bingman said, “We're not far.”
House Democrats have said they are against a cut in the personal income tax rate. Senate Democrats said Monday they would not support any bond proposal if the personal income tax rate is cut.
Republicans outnumber Democrats 67-31 in the House of Representatives and 32-16 in the Senate.
Budget talks include whether the state should issue a bond issue to repair and restore the state Capitol, which could cost as much as $160 million.
Fallin said she supports a bond issue for the Capitol but hasn't decided on an amount. She also supports a $40 million bond issue for the American Indian Cultural Center and Museum in Oklahoma City.
Lawmakers have shown lackluster support for any bond issue this year, although a financial package to repair the Capitol, which has plumbing, electrical and exterior problems, has received some support.
“We've got good support here at the Capitol for a Capitol improvement bond issue,” Fallin said.
“The question at hand is what size of a bond issue will that be and what will it include. I hope that we can do the Capitol complex itself. We're still looking at all the numbers.
“And I've also said that it should be a goal to finish the American Indian Cultural Center and that should be something we should hope to get done this session,” she said.