Talks continue on proposals to reduce or even eliminate the state personal income tax. Such discussions dominated the 2012 legislative session, but the session ended in May with the top tax rate at the same place it was in February.
A third of state government — the House of Representatives — is under new management. The House, the Senate and the governor all seem inclined to cut income taxes but aren't on the same page. The Legislature seems disinclined to change the lottery payout.
The Oklahoma Lottery has generated $500 million for education so far. It's a solid source of revenue for common schools and higher education, but it could perhaps be a bigger source if the payout formula were changed. That's not the commission's call, however, and we're not sure it's the Legislature's call either — other than putting a formula change on the ballot.
The commission has been cutting its payroll and advertising expenses and will reduce the percentage retailers that sell lottery tickets get to keep. These steps pale in significance to a payout formula change for education.
That's all the more reason to let citizens decide for themselves if they believe cutting the education payout rate will actually increase the payout to education.