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.
Naturally, the public school establishment doesn't want any expansion. A key Dank opponent is the Oklahoma State School Boards Association, a private group relying on dues paid by taxpayers to fight legislation that might help taxpayers.
A war of words ensued between Dank and the school establishment. The lawmaker pointed to the high number of school districts and pay increases for superintendents. He called the other side “tax hogs.”
Oink! This is getting personal — as we'd expect when personal income taxes and property valuations are at stake. Lest you think this pig pen stinks to high heaven, relax. Cutting taxes is a critical issue. It should get maximum debate before any changes are made.
The Capitol is having some senior foments while Oklahoma moves incrementally toward tax cuts.