[Weekly Wonk] Personal income tax cuts won’t deliver relief | Imagine what we could accomplish | 2022 Day of Action

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This Week from OK Policy

  • Personal income tax cuts won’t deliver relief to low- and middle-class Oklahomans: Cuts to the individual income tax rate are unfair to low- and middle-class families since they return the largest benefit to the wealthiest Oklahomans. Tax cuts now can devastate state revenue and funding for services like public education in future years. Despite its impacts on everyday Oklahomans, state lawmakers are considering a significant personal income tax cut this year. [Emma Morris / OK Policy
  • Tax Day 2022–The view from VITA (Guest Post): In the past, I’ve written Tax Day articles for OK Policy about a world without taxes. This year I’m celebrating Tax Day by describing my work helping dozens of Oklahomans file their federal and state income taxes through the VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance) program. During my volunteer work here, I’ve seen first-hand the essential role that refundable tax credits play in the well-being of low-income Americans of all ages and the need for a more nuanced approach to tax policy for senior citizens. [Paul Shinn / OK Policy
  • Reopening window of opportunity for justice reform (Capitol Update): It goes without saying that in a democracy, significant change in public policy happens slowly. That’s why, when the legislature gets a chance to pass something, it’s best not to miss the opportunity. The tide of events can turn, and another opportunity may be a long time in coming. It’s difficult to maintain momentum on important change issues. [Steve Lewis / OK Policy
  • Policy Matters: Imagine what we could accomplish: Like many Oklahomans, I was surprised at the breakneck speed with which Gov. Stitt this week introduced and gained enormous momentum for new legislation that would provide $700 million of incentives to woo a potential manufacturer to our state. Setting the merits of such legislation aside, it was a bit of cognitive dissonance to hear officials making the case for such a major expenditure when fiscal debate this session has centered around cutting taxes – and therefore reducing the amount of state revenue available to address our state’s needs. [Ahniwake Rose / The Journal Record

Upcoming Opportunities

Together OK’s Day of Action will be held on Monday, May 2, 2022, on the second floor rotunda of the Oklahoma State Capitol in Oklahoma City. The free event will begin at 11 a.m. with a short program, including brief remarks and a Legislative update from Oklahoma Policy Institute staff. Check-in will begin at 10 a.m. During the event, attendees will receive resources to help make effective contact with lawmakers. In addition to sharing tools and resources, Together Oklahoma will also assist in scheduling appointments with legislators to spark conversations. [Register Today]

Weekly What’s That

Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget

The Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget (JCAB) is a committee governed by separate rules from most legislative committees. It is typically used as a way for House and Senate leadership to introduce and approve new bills in the final weeks of the legislative session.

The committee, which is co-chaired by the Chairs of the House and Senate Appropriations committees, is not subject to regular legislative deadlines. Only bills authored by the Appropriations Chairs or by the House Speaker and Senate President Pro Tem can be referred to JCAB. House and Senate JCAB can meet together, but most often meet separately. Most appropriation bills are assigned to JCAB, but substantive bills can also be heard. Bills are required to have a fiscal impact statement to pass out of JCAB. Bills that pass out of JCAB are placed on a separate Joint Calendar to be heard by their full chambers for Third and Final Reading. 

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“How am I supposed to go back to my constituents and say, ‘I gave away three-quarters of a billion dollars to a company that I don’t even know their name?’ Is that responsible?”

– Rep. Collin Walke, D-OKC, speaking about a proposed bill that would provide an estimated $700 million in business incentives to an undisclosed company. [NonDoc

Editorial of the Week

We need good voter participation for 2022 races

The 2022 election filing period has ended, and we now know all the candidates who will be vying for various local, state and national offices.

Unfortunately, too many incumbents drew no opponents, incumbents automatically will win another term.

We don’t mean to infer that these incumbents are doing a bad job; however, we always believe the electorate are served much better when races develop for these seats, and candidates have to work articulate to their constituents that platforms and plans.

First, we want to say “thank you” to all who have put their name on a ballot this year. Running for political office is not easy, and it takes courage for anyone to sign up to run for political office.

In Oklahoma’s Third Congressional District, incumbent Frank Lucas, R-Cheyenne, is facing local retired pastor Wade Burleson in the primary. The winner will face off with Democratic challenger Jeremiah Ross of Bristow.

This will be an interesting race to watch locally. Lucas has been a strong proponent of agricultural and rural interests and has fared very well in Northwest Oklahoma, and in Enid, particularly. Burleson, however, is well-recognized locally and has been working early to meet voters across the district. We look forward to seeing how these two campaigns shake out and are hopeful for some debates to take place between the two Republican candidates.

Both of Oklahoma’s two U.S. Senate seats will have races, and a plethora of candidates have filed for Sen. Jim Inhofe’s seat as Republicans, and one has filed as a Democrat. Inhofe announced his plans to retire after this session. Sen. Jim Lankford, incumbent, faces some primary challengers as well…

The News & Eagle will be covering local candidates and races throughout the primary and general elections. We encourage all Garfield County residents who are eligible to register to vote before the June primary. We also hope all eligible voters will participate in this year’s elections.

As we all know, elections have consequences. We need higher voter participation in all of our races in order to make sure we have the best representation possible for our area.

[Editorial / Enid News & Eagle]

Numbers of the Day

  • 1-in-3 – More than 1 in 3 of the working taxpayers helped by a volunteer through the VITA (Voluntary Income Tax Assistance) program received the federal and Oklahoma EITC. [OK Policy]
  • 2 – The number of hours members of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget (JCAB) — and the general public — were provided to evaluate a proposed $700 million business incentive bill (HB 4455) before the committee meeting started Monday afternoon. [Oklahoma Legislature]
  • $4 – For Oklahomans in the lowest 20 percent of earners, HB 3350 would cut their taxes by an average of $4 per year, while middle-class Oklahomans would get a tax cut of about $61. The wealthiest one percent of Oklahomans would receive an average tax cut of more than $2,000 annually. [OK Policy]
  • -35% – Oklahoma’s Department of Veterans Affairs has seen a 35 percent cut since 2009. [OK Policy]
  • -40% – Oklahoma’s Department of Health has seen a 40 percent cut since 2009. [OK Policy]

What We’re Reading


David Hamby has more than 25 years of experience as an award-winning communicator, including overseeing communication programs for Oklahoma higher education institutions and other organizations. Before joining OK Policy, he was director of public relations for Rogers State University where he managed the school’s external communication programs and served as a member of the president’s leadership team. He served in a similar communications role for five years at the University of Tulsa. He also has worked in communications roles at Oklahoma State University and the Fort Smith Chamber of Commerce in Arkansas. He joined OK Policy in October 2019.

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