Two bills advance to cut Oklahoma's income tax

Oklahoma House Bill 1598 would reduce Oklahoma's top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent, and House Bill 2032 would drop it to 5 percent. In a vote Monday along party lines, a committee of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed both measures.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT mmcnutt@opubco.com Published: February 26, 2013

Two bills that call for cutting Oklahoma's top personal income tax rate won easy approval Monday evening in a legislative committee.

The House of Representatives Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 17-5 to pass House Bill 1598, which would drop the top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.99 percent.

Committee Chairman Scott Martin, R-Norman, said the reduction would cost the state about $47 million in revenue for the 2014 fiscal year, which begins July 1, and about $121 million in future years when fully implemented. Personal income taxes are projected to bring in about $2.1 billion of the legislatively appropriated $7 billion budget for the 2014 fiscal year.

The committee also passed HB 2032, by House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, which would drop the personal income tax rate to 5 percent. It passed 18-5.

All the Democrats on the committee voted against both proposals, with Reps. Joe Dorman, D-Rush Springs, and Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, saying the loss of revenue would hurt core state functions, such as public safety, education and roads.

Martin said the tax cuts would stimulate economic development by attracting industries.

Both bills advance to the House Calendar Committee, which will determine whether they will get a hearing on the House floor.