STATEMENT: Senate tax cut proposal makes tomorrow’s decision today

OK Policy released the following statement in response to the Senate Finance Comittee’s passage of a committee substitute for HB 2032, the House income tax cut proposal:

By deferring a tax cut until 2015, the Senate has rightfully recognized that more income tax cuts this year are the wrong priority. Oklahoma has pressing needs for investments that should come before tax cuts, such as funding education reforms, paying for court-ordered child welfare reforms, fixing the crumbling state Capitol building, providing cost-of-living adjustments for state workers, and easing the pressure on overcrowded and understaffed state prisons. 

Yet by pushing a $169 million tax cut for 2015, we would bind our hands before we know what Oklahoma’s revenue or budget needs will be. Given an uncertain economy and the threat of federal budget cuts, we should proceed with caution. If we set aside a tax cut for now, lawmakers would still be free to approve one next year or to prioritize other investments, depending on the state’s situation. It is irresponsible to make tomorrow’s decision today.

The Senate proposal does recognize that any changes to the tax code should involve reforms to limit unnecessary tax breaks, not simply cutting the top rate without paying for it. But it is disappointing that reforms in the latest bill abandon common sense fixes such as removing the double deduction for state income taxes.


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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