Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt released the following statement in response to Oklahoma’s latest revenue estimates that under current law will trigger a tax cut in 2016:
It is supremely irresponsible to move forward with an income tax cut that will do little to nothing for most Oklahoma families at the same time as we face a nearly $300 million budget shortfall for next year. Under this tax cut, 41 percent of Oklahomans will not see any tax reduction, and the average tax cut for middle-income families will be just $30.
Between repeated tax cuts and ballooning tax breaks for businesses, Oklahoma has gutted services crucial for a good education system, public safety, and a strong economy. With the collapse of gas prices and a continuing drought threatening two of our state’s major industries, now is exactly the wrong time to increase the size of our budget hole with a tax giveaway that will go mostly to the already wealthy.
Going forward, Oklahoma urgently needs to review and rein in unnecessary tax breaks, and lawmakers needs to develop a more honest and transparent budget that funds core services by finding responsible revenue options, not one-time revenues and budget gimmicks.