To the Editor:
In case you haven’t heard, the governor and many in the Oklahoma Legislature want to phase out the state income tax during a 10-year period.
To pay for part of the revenue loss from this plan, the legislation will remove exemptions and deductions on personal income tax returns to include:
• All personal exemptions;
• Standard/itemized deductions based on Federal Tax Return;
• Exclusion for the portion of Social Security that is taxable at the federal level;
• Exclusions allowed for federal, state and military retirement pensions; and
• Exclusion of up to $10,000 for other types of retirement income.
It also appears that this proposed legislation will do away with the sales tax refund program for low-income families as well as the child tax credit.
This will mean that during the 10-year “phase out” period income taxes will go up for many Oklahomans. There also is no guarantee that the tax will be zero at the end of 10 years.
In addition, under the proposed legislation, the state will lose hundreds of millions of dollars of revenue each year and it is not clear what the impact of that may be.
I have read that the people who will benefit most from this proposed legislation will be those in the upper income categories, those without children and those under 65. It is clear that those who will be most affected are families with children (especially lower income) and retirees.
Oklahoma is already suffering from a lack of revenue to fund important and necessary programs. It just does not make sense to do away with state taxes, when now more than ever we need a steady revenue stream to make our state a great place to live.
It seems that some in our state just want to be able to say that we do not have a state income tax here in Oklahoma. I guess that makes for a nice sound bite or slogan, but I’d rather have a sound revenue source for our state, which will do a lot more than a sound bite to make Oklahoma great.