Eliminating state income tax difficult, economists say

Getting rid of the state's largest revenue source likely would mean higher property taxes and sales taxes, three state economics professors say.
by Don Mecoy Published: November 10, 2011

A proposal to eliminate the state income tax would likely produce higher property taxes, and that won't make Oklahomans happy, three economic professors said Wednesday.

“We hate property taxes in this state,” said Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Managerial Research at the University of Oklahoma.

Dauffenbach, along with Oklahoma City University's Russell Evans and Mickey Hepner of the University of Central Oklahoma, discussed economic matters during a forum hosted by the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce.

Dauffenbach noted that $3 of every $8 in state revenue comes from income taxes.

“Pardon the facts, but I don't really see how we can get from here to there,” he said.

Gov. Mary Fallin's Task Force on Economic Development and Job Creation called for the elimination of the state income tax over the next decade. Several state lawmakers also support elimination of the income tax, with many claiming it would spur economic development.

Texas, which is among nine states that do not levy a personal income tax, has been held up as a model for some who favor elimination of the state sales tax.

Hepner, dean of UCO's college of business administration, said over the past decade, Oklahoma's economy, per capita income and median household income have grown faster than those measures in Texas and most states that levy no income tax.

“I don't know about you, but to me that says instead of us trying to be more like them, maybe they should be a little bit more like us,” Hepner said.

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by Don Mecoy
Business Editor
Business Editor Don Mecoy has covered business news for more than a decade after earlier working on The Oklahoman's city, state and metro news desks, including a stint as city editor. He has won state and regional journalism awards for business,...
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