MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

Oklahoma News

February 5, 2013

Fallin calls for smaller tax cut

(Continued)

"The governor did a good job of delivering a speech that had a few bad ideas in it, not the least of which is the call for a reduction in our state income tax from 5.25 to 5 percent," said Senate Democratic Leader Sean Burrage of Claremore. "I didn't hear any way that we're going to pay for that, and therefore it's not revenue neutral."

House Democratic Leader Scott Inman said it doesn't make sense for Fallin to promote an income tax cut in the same State of the State speech in which she enumerated hundreds of millions of dollars in needs, including repairs to the State Capitol building and more mental health funding.

"She was long on ideas, short on details," he said.

Fallin also called for further changes to the state's pensions that would reduce the unfunded liability of the major systems, an overhaul of the workers' compensation system and an immediate boost in funding for repairs to the Capitol and teacher benefits.

Fallin also released her executive budget, which is her recommendation for how lawmakers should divvy up the estimated $7 billion in revenue they are authorized to appropriate this year. The governor's budget often serves as a starting point for negotiations with lawmakers on how the state revenue will be allocated. Although the final amount for how much lawmakers will have to spend for the fiscal year that begins July 1 won't be determined until later this month, early projections are that they will have about $170 million more to spend this year than last year.

The governor wants lawmakers to approve $18.5 million in supplemental funding this year, including $10 million to begin repairs on the Capitol's crumbling exterior facade and $8.5 million to help pay for health benefits for public school teachers and education employees.

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