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Payroll tax cut likely to expire in January, Oklahoma lawmakers say

Oklahoma Republican Reps. Tom Cole and James Lankford say there is little appetite to extend tax cut for workers as Congress and President Barack Obama prepare to pare nation's debt.
by Chris Casteel Published: November 21, 2012

— Shoppers budgeting for Black Friday and beyond might want to consider this: Come January, workers' paychecks will likely be a little smaller.

The payroll tax break that has given the average Oklahoman an extra $580 a year is set to expire, and there has been little talk of extending it for another year as President Barack Obama and Congress prepare to negotiate on income taxes and spending cuts.

Rep. Tom Cole, R-Moore, a member of the House Budget Committee, said Wednesday that it's a topic on which Republicans and Democrats appear to agree.

“We haven't had a bidding war here,” he said. “You have to come off this fiscal high one step at a time.”

At a Budget Committee hearing earlier this year, Cole asked a White House budget official whether the president would seek to extend the payroll tax cut in 2013.

“We're confident that we'll be in the type of shape economically that we can end the payroll tax holiday,” Jeffrey Zients told Cole then.

House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi told reporters in September, “I would hope that we would not extend it.”

Cole said allowing the payroll tax rate to revert to its normal level “will hit every single person who works.”

But he said it would be prudent not to extend it since the tax is dedicated to Social Security, which is “an important component of Americans' retirement.”

Rep. James Lankford, R-Oklahoma City, a Budget Committee member, said Wednesday that he has also heard that the tax break would be allowed to expire. Continuing it, he said, would threaten the viability of Social Security or add to the nation's debt.

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by Chris Casteel
Washington Bureau
Chris Casteel began working for The Oklahoman's Norman bureau in 1982 while a student at the University of Oklahoma. After covering the police beat, federal courts and the state Legislature in Oklahoma City, he moved to Washington in 1990, where...
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