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Oklahoma Senate approves conditional tax cut

A proposed change would cut the state’s income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent when Oklahoma’s general revenue reaches a certain point.
by Randy Ellis Modified: February 27, 2014 at 8:23 pm •  Published: February 27, 2014

The Oklahoma state Senate on Thursday approved a conditional state income tax cut.

“I am pleased to present to you today legislation which honors the commitment that we made last year to reduce taxes for the hard-working taxpayers of Oklahoma,” said state Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, who presented Senate Bill 1246 on the Senate floor.

The bill would cut Oklahoma’s top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent once certified projections for the state’s general revenue fund get back to where they were when the Legislature approved a tax cut last year. The earlier tax cut bill was struck down by the Oklahoma Supreme Court because it covered more than one topic.

The earliest the Senate’s new proposed tax cut could take place is the 2016 tax year. The bill contains a conditional provision for a subsequent cut in the top income tax rate to 4.85 percent as soon as the state’s revenue growth is enough to offset the amount that would otherwise be lost because of the additional tax cut.

Mazzei told Senate members that about 70 percent of Oklahoma taxpayers would receive some reduction in their income taxes if the Senate bill becomes law.

Mazzei said the average tax savings per family with the initial 0.25 percent reduction would be about $85, and the average savings per household if both the tax cut provisions were fully implemented would be $158.

“I think it’s something Oklahomans need, that Oklahomans want,” said state Sen. Kyle Loveless, R-Oklahoma City.

Senate Minority Leader Sean Burrage argued against it, saying the state should first properly fund education.

Since the proposed tax cut is delayed until at least 2016, Burrage argued it would be more responsible to wait until next year to enact it because the revenue picture would be more clear.

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