Senator asks for help stopping income tax cut (Stillwater News Press)

By Michelle Charles

Senate Finance Chair Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, is asking for the public’s help to stop an income tax cut he championed in 2014.  

The 0.25 percent reduction in the state’s income tax rate takes it from 5.25 percent to 5.0 percent. 

It will save 80 percent of Oklahoma’s households less than $100 annually but take an estimated $140 million out of the state budget while the state is making cuts due to a revenue failure and looking at a shortfall of $1.3 billion for the coming year, according to the Oklahoma Policy Institute.

Although Mazzei, a financial planner, celebrated passage of the tax cut legislation two years ago, saying it would provide $200 million in tax relief for hardworking Oklahomans when fully implemented, he now says the revenue benchmarks meant to trigger the cut were not achieved and it should be delayed.

According to the Tulsa World, Mazzei asked members of the Tulsa Regional Chamber to contact their legislators and ask them to support the delay.

He is also echoing Gov. Mary Fallin’s call for a restructuring of the state budget to reduce “off-the-top” funding and calling for a reduction or elimination of some business tax credits and incentives.

The Senate Finance Committee is set to meet at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and hear SB 1073, authored by Mazzei.

According to the Oklahoma Policy Institute, “The bill stops the most recent drop in the top income top rate by stating that the tax cut cannot take effect in a year when the state faces a revenue failure. It also makes the next scheduled reduction in the top income tax rate subject to a revenue growth trigger and does away with the ‘double deduction’ for state income taxes.”

Mazzei has asked members of the public to contact members of the Senate Finance Committee before 10:30 a.m. Tuesday and urge them to Vote Yes to SB 1073 during the committee hearing.

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