Statement on votes to end “double deduction” and slash Earned Income Tax Credit

Oklahoma Policy Institute issued the following statement in response to the House of Representatives giving final passage to SB 1604, which makes the state Earned Income Tax Credit non-refundable, and SB 1606, which ends the “double deduction”:

The legislators who voted to slash Oklahoma’s Earned Income Tax Cut (EITC) have made a deplorable decision. They decided that more than 200,000 working families, most with children, will lose up to $300 per year. These legislators voted to worsen the daily struggles of families to make ends meet and increase the burden on private charities. The same low-income working families who will lose this credit already pay a much greater share of their income in state and local taxes than wealthier Oklahomans. By cutting the EITC, we are asking the working poor to shoulder even more of the load.

Legislative leaders say this move was needed as part of their plan to help fill the state’s massive budget shortfall. We must not forget that this shortfall was caused in significant part by Republican leaders’ obstinate insistence on moving ahead with a $150 million tax cut that primarily benefits high-income households, on top of a decade of tax cuts that have grown to more than $1 billion per year. In fact, this year’s tax cut for just the wealthiest 1 percent of households will cost the state more than what is saved from cutting the EITC.

At the same time, we are grateful that the Legislature has also voted to finally end the “double deduction”, a nonsensical tax break that served no public purpose and primarily benefited the wealthiest taxpayers who itemize deductions. Oklahoma Policy Institute has championed this reform for many years, and ending this tax break is a rare positive step towards a fairer tax system.

Even after these cuts to tax breaks, Oklahoma leaders have a monumental task to close a billion dollar budget shortfall without decimating critical services. Preventing this year’s income tax cut is still the most common sense option that continues to be ignored by legislative leaders. Lawmakers will not be able to adequately pay teachers or meet other serious needs of our economy and communities until they set aside the reckless tax policy that created Oklahoma’s chronic deficits.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Gene Perry joined OK Policy in January 2011. 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. Gene also serves on the board of the Oklahoma Sustainability Network, is a trustee of the Oklahoma Foundation for Excellence, is a member of Investigative Reporters and Editors, and has chaired the communications advisory committee for the State Priorities Partnership, a nationwide network of state fiscal policy think tanks. He lives in Tulsa with his wife Kara Joy McKee, who is a Tulsa City Councilor.

6 thoughts on “Statement on votes to end “double deduction” and slash Earned Income Tax Credit

  1. That’s just great, let’s fix the Republican leaders mess up by hurting the most vulnerable people in the state, everyone needs to remember this at election time!

  2. One other point that the legislature fails to appreciate is that putting money in the hands of the working poor is an economic stimulus. The money they receive is spent on goods and services which benefits Oklahoma’s economy as a whole.

  3. I guess ending tax breaks and subsidies for the energy companies here (phillips, pso, GRDA) never crossed their mind. The would help….a lot.

  4. This should have been on every news station. I am sure the majority of Oklahomans know nothing about this. I did not until 10 minutes ago. Everyone who voted for this law needs to lose his or her office next election! Ridiculous.

  5. Just filed my taxes and noticed the missing OK EITC. Thanks for nothing, OK GOP! I was hoping to get a big enough refund to fix my car so I can expand my search for a better job. OK public transportation leaves A LOT to be desired.

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