Fallin, Oklahoma legislative leaders announce trifecta of agreements

BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Modified: April 23, 2013 at 10:34 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013

Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders announced agreements Tuesday on three key issues, which include reducing the state's top personal income tax rate in the 2015 calendar year and a further reduction if state tax revenues don't dip.

Other key agreements were reached on overhauling the Oklahoma workers' compensation system and developing a plan for the state to sell unneeded property and underused buildings and to develop an eight-year plan on the needs of state buildings.

All three bills will be submitted to lawmakers by Thursday's deadline to get most Senate measures out of the House and most House measures acted on by the Senate.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, and Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said that with approval on these issues by the Republican-controlled Legislature, work would concentrate on developing a $7 billion legislatively appropriated budget for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1. They hinted lawmakers could adjourn by May 24, or one week earlier than they are authorized to meet.

The income tax cut plan now calls for lowering the top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent on Jan. 1, 2015. The rate would be cut to 4.85 percent on Jan. 1, 2016, if total revenue growth for the state is equal to or greater than the previous fiscal year.

By delaying a cut in the income tax rate, lawmakers will have more funds available to set aside to repair the state Capitol. Fallin said $60 million would be allocated for the 2014 fiscal year and $60 million would be earmarked for the 2015 fiscal year for repairs to the crumbling, nearly 100-year-old building.

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