Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin was noncommittal Thursday about whether her proposed budget for next fiscal year will include an income-tax cut after receiving projections that revenues available for appropriation will be down $170.8 million.
“We're going to continue to talk to the Legislature about what is possible this legislative year as far as it relates to tax cuts,” Fallin said. “We still believe in that as a state, but we do have a lot of other needs in Oklahoma.”
Alex Weintz, the governor's spokesman, was more succinct.
“We have to see two things: What's fiscally possible and what's politically possible,” Weintz said.
The governor said she continues to support philosophically the idea of a tax cut and believes lowering taxes is important in successfully competing with other states.
Whether to once again push for a tax cut is a hot topic at the Capitol after the Oklahoma Supreme Court on Tuesday struck down a law approved during the last regular legislative session that called for incremental state income tax cuts tied to economic growth.
The court declared the law to be unconstitutional because it also contained provisions for creating a fund for state Capitol building repairs. The Oklahoma Constitution prohibits covering more than one topic in a single bill.
Lower projected revenues provide a new political obstacle for the governor and Republican legislative leaders to overcome should they choose to sponsor a bill resurrecting tax cuts.
Concerning Capitol repairs, Fallin on Thursday said she would support a bond issue for such repairs and some other state projects — something that Republicans in the House adamantly opposed and successfully fought against last regular session.
“I've always supported a bond issue for the state of Oklahoma fixing the Capitol and to address some of our needs,” Fallin said. “Unfortunately, we found resistance in the House of Representatives. The Senate, I think, has been on the record as supporting a bond issue.