In The Know: Gov. Fallin opposes delay of income tax cut

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today you should know that Governor Fallin is opposing any delay of a proposed income tax cut, saying that “people in Oklahoma have less money in their pocketbooks and one of the ways that we can help relieve some of that is to give them a tax cut this year.” OK Policy previously showed that under the Governor’s plan, 43 percent of Oklahoman would receive no tax cut and the vast majority of the benefit would go to the already wealthy. The OK Policy Blog discussed why any fair assessment of the facts makes clear that another tax cut is the wrong priority for Oklahoma this year.

Oklahoma’s state Capitol was named as one of Oklahoma’s most endangered historic places. OK Policy Director David Blatt’s Journal Record column discusses the continuing failure of tax credit reform. Legislators approved three new tax breaks on Wednesday for tickets to sporting events, construction of affordable homes and the purchase of helicopters. OK Policy released a statement that Governor Fallin’s veto of SB 817 (a bill that would have raised fees on short-term, high-interest, unsecured loans) was the right decision for consumers.

NewsOK writes that a bill to allowed convicted felons to petition for DNA testing to prove their innocence is worthy of the Legislature’s support. Oklahoma City’s 4.9 percent jobless rate in February was the lowest among large U.S. cities for the 11th straight month. A federal judge dismissed a shareholder lawsuit against Chesapeake Energy over the financial dealings of former CEO Aubrey McClendon.

The Number of the Day is the number of high-tech jobs in Oklahoma. In today’s Policy Note, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities discusses how President Obama’s latest budget affirms that Washington will pay nearly all the costs of expanding Medicaid.

In The News

Gov. Fallin opposes delay of income tax cut

Delaying any reduction of the state’s personal income tax for a year is not an option, even if the money saved by not implementing the cut for a year would go to repairing the state Capitol, one of her key priorities, Gov. Mary Fallin said Wednesday. The GOP governor said she is willing to consider various options by the Republican-controlled Legislature to lower the state’s top personal income tax rate of 5.5 percent, but she opposes postponing any reduction from taking effect later than Jan. 1.

Read more from NewsOK.

See also: Governor Fallin’s tax cut would do little to nothing for the average Oklahoman from the OK Policy Blog

Do we need another tax cut?

Last week, General Electric announced they would build an energy research center in Oklahoma. The company said it would employ at least 125 people in well-paid, high tech engineering jobs. GE executives said they chose Oklahoma because of proximity to GE’s oil and gas customers, the state’s academic institutions, and the area’s skilled workforce. They did not mention taxes, and indeed, chose Oklahoma City over Houston, the nearby oil and gas hub without a state income tax. The GE example illustrates what the majority of research into economic development shows: that proximity to customers, qualified workers, and quality public services are far more important to business than state and local tax rates.

Read more from the OK Policy Blog.

Oklahoma’s state Capitol joins list of most endangered historic places

One of the state’s most recognizable structures — the state Capitol — was named Wednesday as one of Oklahoma’s most endangered historic places. Gov. Mary Fallin said she is concerned about safety issues in the nearly 100-year-old, crumbling building. Much of the electrical wiring is outdated and the plumbing system is failing. Pieces of limestone have fallen from the building’s exterior and raw sewage leaks into the basement. As many as 700 people work in the Capitol during the four-month legislative session. The Capitol was completed in 1917 and was listed as a national landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. Next year marks the centennial of when the original cornerstone of granite was laid.

Read more from NewsOK.

Prosperity Policy: Bells toll for reform

Not long ago, the possibility of far-reaching reform of costly, unproductive tax credits seemed real and imminent in Oklahoma. Now, after a series of setbacks, the prospect has faded almost entirely. The idea of subjecting tax credits to closer scrutiny, and doing away with those that are not serving a strong public purpose, has united lawmakers and policy experts from across the political spectrum. Tax credits give some businesses an advantage over others. Failing to be regularly reviewed by lawmakers and held to clear standards, they have unknown costs.

Read more from The Journal Record.

Oklahoma legislators approve 3 new tax breaks

While Republican legislators in Oklahoma continue wrangling over how to scale back costly tax credits, lawmakers approved three new tax breaks on Wednesday for tickets to sporting events, construction of affordable homes and the purchase of helicopters. All three bills were approved Wednesday by the House Appropriations and Budget Committee, including one for the purchase of helicopters that narrowly failed in the same committee just last week. Rep. Charles Ortega, R-Altus, said the tax credit is designed to show state support for a helicopter training facility opening in southwest Oklahoma, even though he acknowledged the facility already is planning to open without the credit.

Read more from the Enid News & Eagle.

STATEMENT: Governor’s veto the right decision for consumers

Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement in response to Governor Fallin’s veto of SB 817, a bill that would have raised fees on short-term, high-interest, unsecured loans (commonly known as ‘B’ or ‘signature’ loans): We applaud Gov. Fallin for making the right decision for Oklahoma consumers by vetoing SB 817. ‘B’ lenders in Oklahoma can already charge an annual percentage rate as high as 225 percent. Financially vulnerable borrowers are offered unlimited “renewals” on these loans and too many Oklahomans get caught in an escalating debt trap with few options for a way out.

Read more from Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Post-conviction DNA bill worthy of Legislature’s support

The Oklahoma Legislature has passed many laws through the years designed to ensure that criminals get locked up for a long time. Now it can help ensure that justice really has been served in the most serious cases. A bill on its way to the Senate floor would allow those who believe they were wrongfully convicted of a violent crime to petition the sentencing court for DNA testing. The proposed law would apply to people serving sentences of 25 years or more. The state would have two months to respond to the inmate’s request, with the sentencing court then holding a hearing to determine whether to order DNA testing.

Read more from NewsOK.

Oklahoma City jobless rate best among large cities for the 11th straight month

Oklahoma City’s 4.9 percent jobless rate in February was the lowest among large U.S. cities for the 11th straight month. The city’s unemployment rate declined from January’s 5.2 percent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin, Texas, area, with a rate of 5.4 percent, ranked just behind Oklahoma City among metro areas of 1 million or more in February, the agency said. The Oklahoma City area added 5,600 jobs in February with the biggest gain coming in the government sector, which added 3,600 jobs, according to the Oklahoma Employment Security Commission.

Read more from NewsOK.

Judge dismisses shareholder lawsuit against Chesapeake

A federal judge Wednesday sided with Chesapeake Energy Corp. and dismissed a class-action lawsuit about certain financial dealings of the company and its co-founder. U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled that shareholders did not provide enough evidence to support the claims. The lawsuit was filed in April 2012, days after a Reuters report detailed company financial dealings and more than $1 billion in personal loans McClendon secured from companies doing business with Chesapeake, using his stake in Chesapeake wells as collateral.

Read more from NewsOK.

Quote of the Day

It’s just totally absurd. The truth of the matter is the Legislature out here is responsible to the lobbyists and special interests, not the taxpayers. It’s sinful, and I just hate it.

Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, on lawmakers approving new tax breaks for tickets to sporting events, construction of affordable homes, and the purchase of helicopters.

Number of the Day


Number of high-tech jobs in Oklahoma, 33rd among the states in 2011

Source: via Bureau of Labor Statistics

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

President’s budget affirms that Washington will pay nearly all the costs of expanding Medicaid

As expected, President Obama’s new budget does not include two Medicaid savings proposals that would shift costs to states and which the Administration has previously supported. This should put to rest health reform opponents’ claims that federal deficit reduction efforts will require states to pay a greater share of the expansion costs than health reform requires now — and their conclusion that states must thus pass up the opportunity to expand the program to millions more uninsured and underinsured low-income individuals and families.

Read more from the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.

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Gene Perry worked for OK Policy from 2011 to 2019. He is a native Oklahoman and a citizen of the Cherokee Nation. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in history and an M.A. in journalism.

2 thoughts on “In The Know: Gov. Fallin opposes delay of income tax cut

  1. I am opposed to the Governor wanting to give tax breaks to the richest folks in our state. We need the
    MONEY to fund Education and fund our state employees, like retired teachers, Highway Patrol etc. The Govern is looking out for her rich supporters so she can be re-elected. Just like the folks in Washington, let’s look out for the rich and forget about what is really needed. When Govern Keating had to put a dome on the capital building, paid by private donations (that was a joke.) Didn’t the taxpayers have to finally have to pay part of the bill? Why didn’t repairs to the old building need fixing back then? I guess that wasn’t the goal. WE. need to properly fund our schools, pay our hard working people who put their lives on the line each time they go to work like our Highway Patrol and our teachers a COLA raise. AGAIN, why are we giving a tax break at a time when we most need the money.


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