Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

State News

January 30, 2014

Fallin endorses plan for school storm shelters and safe rooms

Proposal lets local governments raise debt limits

(Continued)

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma —

“Any time we’ve had a tax cut in the past, we’ve used growth revenue. We don’t have that this year,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa.  “The revenue picture has got to change before we can enact the tax cut.”

With the Legislature already projected to have about $170 million less to spend on programs this year, Bingman said a tax cut would make it even more difficult to balance the budget.

“We’ve got to make that up from somewhere,” he said. 

House Speaker Pro Tem Mike Jackson, the No. 2 leader in the Republican-controlled House, said his caucus supports a cut in the state’s top income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.85 percent.

It’s similar to the tax cut approved by the Legislature last year that was ruled unconstitutional because it was part of a bill that included more than one subject. That tax cut had been scheduled to take effect in 2015.

Jackson, R-Enid, spoke in place of current House Speaker T.W. Shannon, who announced Wednesday he was running for the U.S. Senate. Jackson acknowledged he has been securing votes to replace Shannon were he to step down as House speaker, but said Shannon has not given any indication that he plans to immediately vacate the post.

Jackson said he agrees with Shannon’s opposition to a bond issue to pay for state infrastructure improvements, such as repairs to the Capitol. He also said he wants to keep in place a generous tax incentive for certain oil and gas drilling that is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars in general revenue annually.

Both the governor and Bingman have suggested that incentive, which lowers the tax rate on horizontal drilling from 7 percent to 1 percent for the first 48 months of production, should be revisited. Jackson said he supports making the 1 percent rate permanent. 

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