Patrick B. McGuigan
House Bill 3038, characterized by state Rep. Leslie Osborn as a “pristine version of Dr. Laffer’s Laffer plan,” cleared the state House Appropriations and Budget Committee today. The proposal to phase out state taxes over a period or a decade or thereabouts advanced on an 11-4 vote.
Democrats spoke against the plan, and have asserted it would increase taxes on some Oklahomans. In an interview with reporters, however, Rep. Osborn said the effect of the measure on some retired Oklahomans was under study and would likely be revised to offset any such impact.
After the measure cleared the committee early on Wednesday evening (February 29), the president of the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs praised it, and efforts by Governor Mary Fallin and Senate Appropriations Chairman Clark Jolley of Edmond, advocates of differing income tax reduction and phase out proposals.
Carnuccio said, in a statement sent to CapitolBeatOK, "This legislative session, our state lawmakers have the chance to establish a new legacy of economic prosperity and opportunity for current and future generations of Oklahomans.
"By working to craft a responsible plan to phase out our state's personal income tax, Gov. Fallin, along with lawmakers like Rep. Leslie Osborn and Sen. Clark Jolley, are taking a transformational step in our state's history.
"Phasing out the income tax to spur the economy is common sense. We are proud that state leaders are focusing on the big-picture issue that will place Oklahoma at the top nationally in economic competitiveness.
“As a result of this game-changing step, there will soon be a breadwinner of an Oklahoma family who gets a better job opportunity, right here in Oklahoma, than what he or she currently has. There soon will be an Oklahoma small business owner who is able to keep more the fruits of their labor, put that savings back into their company, increase their productivity and put up a posting to fill a new job opening, right here in Oklahoma, that never before existed.
“There will be a large employer in California or Illinois who will see the opportunities presented by Oklahoma’s new tax climate and relocate his or her corporate headquarters to our state, bringing hundreds, if not thousands of jobs with them. The quicker we get there, the better.”
The A&B panel also advanced House Bill 3061, co-sponsored by House Speaker Kris Steele and Senate President Pro Temp Brian Bingman, after an 11-6 vote.
On both tax measures considered in late afternoon, the committee rejected amendments by state Rep. Joe Dorman, a Rush Springs Democrat, to affirm that tax increases on any Oklahomans would assure requiring either a three-fourths vote of the Legislature or a popular vote. Republicans argued neither measure reverses State Question 640, so Dorman’s amendment was unnecessary.
House A&B Chairman Earl Sears of Bartlesville promised both supporters and opponents of income tax proposals in their current form that the bills are headed “to a room where we’re going to be looking at all the tax plans.”