Further growth for state should be focus of 2013 Legislature

The Oklahoman Editorial Published: February 3, 2013

As the session dawns, we renew our call for caution where the state income tax is concerned. Last year saw efforts to slash the 5.25 percent top rate by half or even to eliminate the tax. Those plans failed. The present maximum rate needs to be reduced, but better to do it slowly and responsibly.

And speaking of being responsible, using bond issues to pay for some of the state's infrastructure needs (state Capitol complex, state medical examiner's office, for example) is something lawmakers must consider. Rejecting the idea on strictly ideological grounds is the height of irresponsibility. Fallin, Bingman and House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, need to demonstrate solid leadership in this area.

We'd be remiss if we didn't mention our persistent plea for lawmakers to avoid partisan sideshows and trivial pursuits, even if such pleas tend to fall on deaf ears. Unlike most recent sessions, the 2013 Legislature has growth revenue to work with. Lawmakers should focus on what will help produce more growth revenue, starting with a workers' comp system makeover, sensible income tax restructuring, infrastructure repair and finding ways to make state government smarter, more efficient and more focused on core functions.

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