By Matt Pinnell
Taxes continue to be one of the defining differences between Republicans and Democrats. Republicans have long fought to reduce the tax burden of Oklahomans, while Democrats have fought to impose higher taxes on citizens. Republicans know taxes are the people’s money, while Democrats think citizens’ salaries are the government’s money.
That point was reinforced again this year as Gov. Mary Fallin and Republican legislators fought to lower Oklahoma’s income tax rate. Fallin offered a bold plan, and Democrats were appalled that Oklahomans might get to keep more of their own money.
we've delivered, and we will continue to deliver on the promise of lower taxes and less government.
The recently announced tax-cut agreement will lower the rate to 4.8 percent, marking the latest in a long line of income tax rate cuts delivered by Oklahoma Republicans. The process started with Gov. Frank Keating, continued with former House Speaker Todd Hiett, and now moves forward again. Since Gov. Keating’s time in office, Oklahoma’s tax rate will have been cut by nearly one-third, from 7 percent to 4.8 percent. Although political compromises have been forced along the way, it’s important to remember that trend line. Republicans promised to drive the tax rate down, and they've delivered.
The joint proposal represents a tax cut of over $218 million to Oklahomans when fully implemented in fiscal year 2014, and would cut taxes by an additional $121.4 million in fiscal year 2015 should a growth trigger be reached. Lost revenue is partially offset by tax reforms totaling $117 million.
Certainly worth noting is that this new plan simplifies the tax code by dropping the total number of tax brackets from seven to three. New rates will be set at 1 percent, 3.3 percent and 4.8 percent. Seems like all we do is talk about simplifying the tax code at the federal level. In Oklahoma, Republicans promised to simplify the tax code and right-size state government, and once again, they've delivered.
It was Thomas Paine who said "Invention is continually exercised, to furnish new pretenses for revenues and taxation. It watches prosperity as its prey and permits none to escape without tribute." Republicans have fought against new pretenses to raise taxes on Oklahoman's and instead fought to return more money to them in the form of tax cuts. The positive trend lines don't lie, we've delivered, and we will continue to deliver on the promise of lower taxes and less government.