Editor’s note: This letter is in response to a letter (“Tax increases coming if bill becomes law”) published March 25.
Since the start of this year’s legislative session, the issue of tax reform has been front and center.
Several plans have been introduced to eliminate the state income tax over 10 years or more. Because the discussion has included calls for ending tax exemptions as rates are lowered, some retirees and veterans are understandably concerned that they could lose their tax breaks and potentially wind up with a larger tax burden.
I assure you, I will not support any plan that does not hold our seniors and veterans harmless, and I will fight to ensure they see their tax burden reduced as soon as possible.
While I support lowering the state income tax, I believe we must do it in a responsible fashion that does not create unnecessary financial hardship along the way. Tax reform should not simply shuffle tax breaks, but lower the tax burden for everyone, allowing working families to keep more of their own money and incentivize job creation.
There is no doubt that our tax code is flawed and simplification would dramatically improve it. A lower tax rate with fewer loopholes would fuel economic growth and still generate revenue.
In the early phases, I believe loopholes that have been abused by businesses should be closed while tax breaks for individuals should be left alone.
Important individual tax breaks should only be eliminated as the last step of the process as we complete the full repeal of the income tax, and not on the front end of the tax-code rewrite. This will ensure our veterans and retirees do not face tax increases at any point in the process.
By gradually phasing out the income tax over 10 years (as revenue allows), we can also avoid increasing taxes on sales or property while still funding true core functions of government.
By adopting the right tax reform, I believe we can fuel strong economic growth in Oklahoma that benefits us all.