MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

April 16, 2013

Fallin meets with state GOP leaders over tax cut


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Gov. Mary Fallin met Monday with Republican legislators to discuss plans to cut the state income tax and said leaders are “very close” to an agreement.

After meeting behind closed doors with the House Republican Caucus, Fallin said she believes a Senate-backed plan to eliminate or modify some tax credits and exemptions will be handled as a separate proposal and not included in the bill to cut the income tax rate.

“I think you’ll find that will be a separate issue,” Fallin told The Associated Press after the meeting. “Tax credits will be a separate issue from a tax cut.”

Fallin also said she presented information to Republican House members that shows previous reductions to the state’s income tax have resulted in increased collections in subsequent years.

Fallin and House Speaker T.W. Shannon have supported a plan to cut the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, effective Jan. 1, but that bill was gutted in the Senate and changed to delay the cut until January 2015, drop the rate to 4.95 percent, and reduce several transferable tax credits.

Shannon reiterated Monday that he could support delaying a cut until 2015 if Senate leaders would agree to cut the rate deeper than 4.95 percent.

“My main goal is to get as much of a reduction for the people of Oklahoma as possible,” said Shannon, R-Lawton. “So, if I can get more of a reduction by delaying it one year, I’m open to it.”

Shannon said all three sides are “real close” to an agreement on the tax cut.

Nate Atkins, a spokesman for Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, said the Senate leader remains committed to a “responsible tax cut.”

Fallin said her top priority remains having a tax-cut bill advance to her desk before the legislative session ends at the end of May.

“I’ve just ask them to send a reasonable tax cut to my desk this year, and that will be between the caucuses to decide that,” Fallin said.