Fallin to again seek cutting Oklahoma's personal income tax rate

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin will propose a permanent, one-time reduction when she makes her State of the State address Feb. 4.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: January 20, 2013

Agencies have made budget requests totaling an increase of about $1.4 billion for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1.

“There are a lot of people out there wanting to start or expand new programs,” she said.

Fallin's income tax proposal was among several discussed by lawmakers last year. Some depended on eliminating tax credits and deductions, which lawmakers backed off of after hearing complaints from businesses and individual taxpayers. More modest proposals were pitched in the last days of the session, but lawmakers adjourned without agreeing on an income tax reduction.

Fallin said her proposal also will be much more conservative than the income-tax plan approved last year in Kansas. The plan, similar to one proposed by many Oklahoma GOP lawmakers last year, has resulted in revenue shortfalls, with revenues projected to drop more than $700 million.

Fallin said she will ask lawmakers to appropriate some of the state's growth revenue to pay for programs intended to improve learning for students, such as better reading instruction and end-of-high school exams in public schools.

Other proposals

Fallin said she will ask for more money for mental health programs and encourage Oklahomans to develop healthier habits.

“I've made that a priority the last couple of years, mental health services and health care and improving the health of Oklahoma,” she said.

Fallin said she is encouraged that a ranking of America's health in 2012 puts Oklahoma 43rd in the nation in the wellness of its residents. Oklahoma was ranked 49th three years earlier.

Fallin said she will challenge lawmakers to find a way to repair and renovate the nearly 100-year-old state Capitol, which has serious plumbing and electrical wiring problems. She supported a bond issue last year; a $200 million proposal that included repairing other buildings in the Capitol complex failed in the House.

She said she again will encourage legislators to find a way to provide funds to help complete the American Indian Cultural Center in Oklahoma City.

“There are a lot of different options we can look at, whether it's bond issues, whether it's cash, whether it is raising private-sector money,” Fallin said. “We're going to keep all options on the table.”