Statement: Oklahoma should not waste millions on capital gains tax break to protect small part that might benefit agriculture

Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt released the following statement in response to some lawmakers’ claims that Oklahoma should maintain a tax deduction for capital gains income to support the cattle industry and farmers:

Oklahoma’s capitol gains deduction is poorly targeted and poorly monitored. This tax break was never intended or designed to support agriculture, and the five-year holding period for qualified property means that most cattle operators already do not qualify. Instead of helping ranchers or small family farmers, two-thirds of this deduction is taken by just over 800 wealthy households who have no responsibility to report how they use their benefit. The vast majority of Oklahomans in both rural and non-rural areas are not receiving any benefit from this costly tax break.

Lawmakers should not continue an untargeted tax loophole costing more than $100 million a year simply because some portion of the benefit might go to a few cattle operations or farms. House lawmakers should pass SB 1086 and then work on developing a targeted tax break for agriculture if they believe that is in the best interest of our state.

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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.

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