The Woodward News

Local News

May 11, 2012

Legislators talk tax cuts and tax credits at forum Friday

Woodward, Okla. — Area legislators talked about a range of issues, from tax cuts and credits to issues facing the education and corrections departments, during the Eggs and Issues legislative forum on Friday morning.

State Reps. Gus Blackwell, R-Laverne; Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview; Mike Sanders, R-Kingfisher; and State Sen. Bryce Marlatt, R-Woodward, discussed issues such as the state budget, income tax, Department of Corrections funding, the A through F school grading system, tax credits and more.

Rep. Sanders said the state budget and income taxes go "hand in hand," which means lowering income taxes is something that has to be done responsibly. With lowering income taxes could come possible cuts in core services, he said.

His fellow legislators concurred and said the people of Oklahoma have to consider questions such as if income taxes are lowered, what will make up for the drop in revenue without cutting core services?

"I'm in favor of tax cuts but as I look at where we are right now I think we're in a very precarious position economically; we're just coming out the recession," Blackwell said.

In addition, he said 3 major things that are bringing in money for the state are already facing potentially jeopardizing situations.  Those include cuts in defense, with aeronautics being number one, and the EPA coming down on the U.S. Fish and Wildlife and Agriculture as well as oil and gas industries.

If there is a tax cut on the income tax, Blackwell said he thinks it would be better to make it effective later.  While Hickman, Sanders and Marlatt all said they are looking at getting tax rates below the 5 percent mark sooner rather than later.

But whatever happens with the state income tax, the legislators said a decision will need to be made soon because they can't finish the budget until they know what revenues can be expected from income tax.  The legislature only has 2 weeks left to approve a state budget before their session is scheduled to end on the last Friday in May.

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