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Some states emulating Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's 2012 strategy on income taxes

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: February 8, 2013

From 2005 to 2007, Oklahoma lawmakers incrementally cut the tax rate to 5.5 percent with an expected impact of $283.1 million to state revenue over several years. Instead, general revenue collections increased $688.8 million from the 2005 to 2008 fiscal years. A quarter-point reduction in 2012 was predicted to reduce revenue $89.26 million that calendar year, yet major revenue sources increased $458.8 million (although a downturn in gross production taxes offset much of that gain).

Conservatives see these results as the logical outcome of the stimulative effect of tax cuts. Critics will disagree, but they can't deny that dire predictions about past tax cuts have not borne out, or that the financial challenges of recent years were caused by a national recession whose consequences would have been the same no matter what income tax rate prevailed in Oklahoma.

Fallin's current income tax plan is in line with previous cuts that gradually reduced Oklahoma's top rate by 25 percent since the 1990s. By making her tax reform goal more modest this year, Fallin has likely made it more attainable.

But as laboratories of democracy, the 50 states compete not only for businesses and job creation, but also in policy development and implementation. Should Louisiana and Nebraska adopt tax reforms similar to those Fallin touted in 2012 — and experience increased economic growth as a result — her 2013 tax proposal may still be seen as having fallen short, even if she does get to sign it into law.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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