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Oklahoma retirees at center of taxing debates

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: March 27, 2012

Republican politicians felt the wrath of retirees when proposals to reduce state personal income taxes included ending deductions for retirement income. When Republican state Rep. David Dank tried to help seniors with a property tax measure, he felt the sting of the school establishment.

This isn't retail politics. It's retirement politics.

Tax cutters at the state Capitol are advancing on several fronts. The pushback is strong. Opposition to ending the income tax deduction was swift and certain. The question becomes moot if the state eliminates the income tax — you can't deduct something from nothing — but getting from today's system to elimination requires intermediate steps.

Just as Obamacare is conditioned on the individual mandate, reducing state income taxes is conditioned on reducing or eliminating deductions and credits.

Dank, R-Oklahoma City, wants to extend the means-tested eligibility for older homeowners who get a property tax valuation freeze. It's now capped at 100 percent of the median income of the county in which a property owner lives. Dank sought no income cap. A compromise merely raises the cap, to 125 percent of the median income.

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