Mary Fallin

Governor Fallin, legislative leaders announce tax cut, other plans

April 24, 2013
TheTulsa World
By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau

Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders on Tuesday announced an agreement to reduce the state's income tax to 5 percent from 5.25 percent in 2015.

The savings per taxpayer would range from $80 to $140, said Finance Secretary Preston Doerflinger.

The measure would cost $136 million when fully implemented.

The agreement also calls for another reduction to 4.85 percent in 2016, contingent on revenue growth. The cost would be $101 million when fully implemented.

The tax cut bill does not contain tax reforms, which are expected to be included in another measure.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, said the reforms include changing some wind and coal credits to refundable from transferable.

Leaders also announced an agreement on a workers compensation plan that would reduce payments to injured workers and switch the system from one that is adversarial to an administrative system.

Bingman said the goal is to get injured workers back to work as quickly as possible. Some workers are "gaming the system," Bingman said.

Officials also said they have agreed to plug $120 million in the next two fiscal years into fixing the crumbling state Capitol, which has been plagued by electrical, structural and plumbing problems.

House Speaker T.W. Shannon, R-Lawton, said the agreement includes a study to determine the extent of the needs, but some members were concerned that a proposed $2 million evaluation was too costly.

In the past, the state has waited until its infrastructure had crumbled and then passed a bond issue to fix the problem, Shannon said. The current proposal does not require debt and will be paid for with growth revenue in 2014, he said.

Shannon said lawmakers are expected to be out of session before 5 p.m. May 31. Lawmakers could adjourn before Memorial Day, which is May 27, Shannon said.

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