Conservatives in the Legislature, and the leader of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, cheered Governor Mary Fallin’s historic income tax reduction proposals on Monday.
Michael Carnuccio of OCPA said, “I hope every Oklahoman realizes how truly remarkable this day is for our future. On President Ronald Reagan’s 101st birthday, Gov. Mary Fallin exhibited the same bold, transformational leadership of Reagan in joining state lawmakers in the goal of advancing economic freedom to empower all citizens in our great state.
“No other governor in the country is working this boldly to provide tax
relief, and no other Legislature in the country is this passionate about
eliminating waste and inefficiency and returning tax dollars to their
rightful owner – the people. While the legislative process will now
focus on the details of each plan, we can clearly see that when the dust
settles, Oklahomans will keep more of their hard earned money next
At the Capitol, the governor’s Republican allies generally applauded the framework of her tax cut plan and applauded priorities listed in her State of the State address.
Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman of Sapulpa said, “I thought she laid out something that is certain to lay a basis to move Oklahoma forward.” He cautioned, “the devil’s in the details,” saying his members would “need to sit down and see what common ground we can find.” However, Bingman emphasized he supports efforts to “reduce the burden on Oklahoma taxpayers.”
In a session with reporters shortly after the State of the State speech ended, Bingman covered a range of issues. He predicted “a lot of attention on the Department of Human Services,” in light of the Children’s Rights litigation where a proposed settlement is now under judicial review. He reflected that he believes there will be “movement this session” toward some resolution of the health exchange issue.
Asked to predict areas where there might be conflict between Republicans and Democrats in the Senate, he quipped quickly, “Probably on tax cuts.”
Fallin’s tax proposal will head to the Revenue and Finance Committee. Bingman and House Speaker Kris Steele have reserved bill numbers to serve as vehicles for the governor’s proposal, the legislative leaders said this afternoon.
Lieutenant Governor Todd Lamb, who presided over the joint session in the House Chamber, where Fallin delivered her speech, expressed strong support for the governor’s message. In comments sent to CapitolBeatOK, Lamb said:
“The Governor outlined an ambitious, pro-growth agenda today that will make Oklahoma more competitive and government more effective. Serving as Oklahoma’s Small Business Advocate, I’m excited about the vision for reforming our tax code and lightening the economic burden of all Oklahomans.
“This is a crucial task that allows our citizens to keep more of their money, and attracts more businesses to our state. I am hopeful and optimistic this upcoming legislative session will be productive while maintaining fiscal responsibility.”
Speaker of the House Kris Steele issued statement boosting Fallin’s goals, while addressing other areas of governance. He commented:
“Governor Fallin laid out the type of aggressive vision we need to take this state from good to great. The picture the governor painted of our state is true: We’re growing, and we’re on the cusp of something great. With 41,600 new jobs in the past year, low unemployment and a growing economy, Oklahoma is positioned well to grow and prosper in the years ahead.
“The pro-growth state we promised our constituents is starting to take shape, which is proof that what we’re doing is working. Under this governor’s leadership, the state has unprecedented momentum that we’re all looking forward to seizing and building upon this session.”
The Shawnee Republican continued: “The governor’s income tax reduction plan appears bold, strategic and responsible all at once. That’s exciting, and we’re excited to begin reviewing it. Over the next four months, the governor’s tax plan will be front and center before the Legislature along with other tax reform plans put forth by legislators.
“All income tax plans will get careful consideration as we determine the best way to achieve a growth-spurring, responsible tax reduction. I commend the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature for their commitment to the meaningful tax reform Oklahomans have asked for and deserve.
“It’s a fantastic sign for public safety to see funding for smart on crime initiatives in the governor’s proposed budget. The governor has been a champion for public safety and she knows, as many of us now know, how critical these services are to public safety and to improving our criminal justice system.
“This funding dovetails extremely well with the statewide public safety plan we developed through the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, as does the governor’s call for a new trooper academy. All these initiatives would be tremendous boosts to law enforcement and we will make them a priority.
“The governor’s commitment to transportation, education, government modernization, DHS reform, water, public health and energy are priorities also shared by the House, so we look forward to working with her in these policy areas, as well.”
Tax credits targeted for elimination in the governor’s proposal, dubbed the Tax Reduction and Simplification Act, include these: Dry Fire Hydrant Credit, Credit for Railroad Modernization, Credit for Breeders of Specialty Trained Canines, Volunteer Firefighter Credit, Wire Transfer Fee Credit, Credit for Cancer Research Contribution, Oklahoma Capital Investment Board Tax Credit, Credit for Hazardous Waste Control, Gas Used in Manufacturing Credit, Oklahoma Investment/ New Jobs Credit, Credit for Energy Assistance Fund Contribution, Coal Credit, Child Care/ Child Tax Credit, Credit for Manufacturer of Qualified Electric Motor Vehicles, Oklahoma Agricultural Producers Credit, Credit for Employers Providing Child Care Programs, Credit for Businesses Providing Providing Child Care Services, Small Business Guaranty Fee Credit, Credit for Electricity Generated by Zero-Emission Facilities, Credit for Manufacturers of Small Wind Turbines, Food Service Establishment Hepatitis A Vaccination, Credit for Tourism Development or Film or Music Production Facility, and Credit for Qualified Rehabilitation Expenditures.
Also under deliberation for a sunset in the governor’s proposal are the Credit for the Construction of Energy Efficient Homes, Credit for Wages Paid to An Injured Employee, Credit for Modification Expenses Paid for An Injured Employee, Credit for Qualified Recycling Facility, Credit for Qualified Ethanol Facilities, Earned Income Tax Credit, Credit for Qualified Biodiesel Facilities, Low Income Property Tax Credit, Oklahoma Local Development and Enterprise Zone Incentive Leverage Act, Poulty Litter Credit, Film or Music Project Credit, Credit for Rural Economic Development Loans, Credit for Stafford Loan Organizational Fee, Sales Tax Relief Credit, Research and Development New Jobs Credit and the Business Activity Tax Credit.