Oklahoma has too many unmet needs to slash revenue | #MyOklahoma

Lawmakers have been asked to consider sweeping tax cuts — including eliminating the personal income tax, which is one of the state’s largest revenue sources. Gov. Stitt has called the legislature back for an Oct. 3 special session to consider tax cuts and triggers that would jeopardize the state’s financial position. 

Proposed under the guise of inflation relief, sweeping cuts to the personal income tax will favor the wealthy at the expense of the rest of us. Two decades of poorly targeted tax cuts have left core programs and services underfunded, and the funding problem gets worse each year due to population growth and inflation.

Oklahoma has too many unmet needs for lawmakers to consider cutting revenue.

Better Alternatives Than Across-the-Board Revenue Cuts 

  • Modernizing the Sales Tax Relief Credit will cut taxes for those who need it [OK Policy] | [Factsheet, PDF]
  • A county-by-county look at how increasing Oklahoma’s Sales Tax Relief Credit benefits families, seniors [OK Policy]
  • Improving the Earned Income Tax Credit [OK Policy]

Actions You Can Take 

  • Contact your lawmakers and the governor [Find My Legislator]
  • Write a letter to the editor [Templates]
  • Share your thoughts on social media [Sample text]
  • Sign up for Together Oklahoma (OK Policy’s grassroots advocacy arm) and their affinity groups [Together OK]

Articles and Op-Eds

  • Everyday Oklahomans will be hurt by sweeping revenue cuts [OK Policy]
  • FY 2024 Budget: Lawmakers diverted taxpayer dollars to private schools, but missed opportunities to support everyday Oklahomans [OK Policy]
  • FY 2024 Budget Highlights [OK Policy]
  • Flat tax, tax triggers would make Oklahoma’s tax system less fair, less adequate, and less stable [OK Policy]
  • Tax proposals this session fail to deliver inflation relief, jeopardize state’s long-term fiscal health [OK Policy] | [Factsheet, PDF]
  • The needs of everyday Oklahomans outweigh tax cuts that benefit the wealthy [OK Policy]
  • Opinion: Cutting revenue by eliminating personal income tax is quick route in race to nation’s bottom [Tulsa World]
  • Opinion: Tax Isn’t a Four-Letter Word [Journal Record]
  • Opinion: Continued tax cuts in Oklahoma aren’t fiscally conservative [The Oklahoman]
  • Opinion: Tax cuts today means even worse Oklahoma outcomes tomorrow [Tulsa World]
  • Opinion: Decades of deferred maintenance threaten state’s economic future [Journal Record]
  • Opinion: Last-minute state budget deals intentional, harmful [Journal Record]
  • Opinion: SQ 640 remains obstacle to Oklahoma’s prosperity [Journal Record]

Facts About Oklahoma’s Unmet Needs

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Letters to the Editor

Sending a Letter to the Editor to your community newspaper can be a valuable tool to spark local conversations about issues. Most Letters to the Editor are fairly short (125-250 words), so feel free to use templates as a starting off point for your personal letter. 

Focus: Make Oklahoma’s future a budget priority

Two decades of tax cuts in Oklahoma have hampered state programs and reduced vital services. As Oklahoma’s population and inflation have grown, the buying power of our tax dollars have been reduced. As a result, our state agencies and programs are unable to deliver the essential services we all rely on.

It’s irresponsible for our elected officials to make even more tax cuts as the state has so many unmet needs. We should not accept Oklahoma’s distressing rates of poverty, food insecurity, lack of health insurance, infant mortality, and educational outcomes. All of these issues have long-term implications for our workforce, business environment, and future population growth.

To ensure a prosperous future, we must prioritize Oklahoma’s future by making sound fiscal choices now. Making the wrong decision today will keep Oklahoma ranked among the nation’s lowest states for quality of life and hurt our ability to attract businesses and residents. 

[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]

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Focus: Too many Oklahomans have unmet needs

Recently released Census data showed that Oklahoma is among the nation’s poorest states, with nearly 1 in 6 adults – and 1 in 5 children – living in households with incomes at or below the poverty level. We should be alarmed by these statistics. 

Lawmakers have many tools available to them to help address poverty in Oklahoma, including workforce development, child care, education, health care, food assistance, affordable housing, public transportation, and more. 

But we will be unable to make these investments if lawmakers move forward with poorly targeted tax cuts that will reduce our ability to ensure that all Oklahomans can move from merely surviving to thriving. 

[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]

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Focus: Everyday Oklahomans will see little, if any, benefit from proposed tax cuts

Lawmakers have cut the state’s personal income tax eight times since 2004, but it hasn’t helped our economy, even after two decades of trying. Additional efforts to reduce state revenue through more tax cuts will not help everyday Oklahomans; it will actually cause problems.

Studies have shown that Oklahoma’s tax cuts provide outsized benefits to wealthy Oklahomans at the expense of the rest of us. The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy found that a .25% cut to the personal income tax would deliver a $93 dollar benefit to middle class Oklahomans, while the richest 1% would get back more than $2,300. This goes against what lawmakers promised about relieving inflation for everyday residents.

Oklahoma already has among the nation’s lowest taxes. Reducing revenue even more through poorly targeted tax cuts could cause irreparable harm for important programs like public safety, workforce development, early childhood programs, education, and health care could be seriously hurt. 

[Your Name]
[Your Contact Information]

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Social Media Posts

Feel free to use or adapt these social media posts as you see fit. 

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If we get rid of the income tax, how will we pay for essential state services? Oklahoma would have only two options: reduce or eliminate core public services, or raise revenue from other sources, including property taxes and more taxation on goods and services. 🤔💼💰 #OKLeg

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💡 Did you know? Eliminating the personal income tax in Oklahoma would cut 1 in 3 dollars from the General Revenue Fund, jeopardizing education, healthcare, and more. Let’s prioritize smart investments for a brighter future! 📚🏥 #InvestInOklahoma #OKLeg

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While some politicians claim that lowering taxes will attract more residents to offset lost revenue, this is like a dog chasing its tail. As the population grows, so does the demand for public services and infrastructure, which requires more revenue. The math doesn’t math. #OKLeg

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📊 The Numbers Speak: Eliminating the personal income tax would create a budget hole of $3.4B, cutting the state budget. Replacing that revenue? Virtually impossible due to SQ 640. Lawmakers should be protecting revenue during these uncertain times. #FiscalHealth #OKLeg

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⚠️ Warning: Racing to the bottom with income tax cuts could harm Oklahoma’s long-term fiscal health. Let’s focus on strategic investments to propel us to the top – affordable housing, education, and workforce training. 🏠📚 #OKLeg

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🌐 Building a Top 10 State 🌟: Oklahoma’s path to success lies in preserving vital revenue streams. Join the conversation on responsible fiscal policies that support education, workforce training, and economic growth. 🚀📈 #Top10State #OklahomaSuccess #OKLeg

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Our taxes help ensure safe communities, high quality public schools, well maintained roads, access to health care, and countless other benefits that flow from shared public services funded by tax dollars. 💙🏫🛣️🏥 #CommunityBenefits #PublicServices #okleg https://journalrecord.com/2023/08/31/policy-matters-tax-isnt-a-four-letter-word/

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Taxes are the price of admission for a functioning society. It’s perplexing that some politicians want to eliminate the individual income tax, OK’s largest revenue source. Decades of tax cuts have weakened core state services & reduced our quality of life. https://journalrecord.com/2023/08/31/policy-matters-tax-isnt-a-four-letter-word/


Oklahoma Policy Insititute (OK Policy) advances equitable and fiscally responsible policies that expand opportunity for all Oklahomans through non-partisan research, analysis, and advocacy.

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