OKLAHOMA CITY –The task force charged with recommending reforms in Oklahoma’s tax system has completed its work. Copies of the report were given to Gov. Mary Fallin, President Pro Tempore Brian Bingman and Speaker Kris Steele on Friday.
Senator Mike Mazzei served as Co-chair of the task force. He told the governor and legislative leaders that as they and members of the Legislature consider the panel’s proposals, it was his hope that the taxpayers of Oklahoma would be the main priority throughout the process.
“The non-partisan Tax Foundation has rated Oklahoma’s overall tax structure 30th in the nation when rating our job creation environment,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa. “We must transform the tax code; it is simply wrong when a special interest group benefits from an obsolete or ineffective tax preference at the expense of hardworking Oklahomans who deserve to keep more of their hard-earned income.”
The report includes recommendations on reforms which will enable reductions in the top income tax rate from 5.25 to 4.75 percent over a two-year period as well as reducing corporate income taxes from 6 to 5 percent. Additional recommendations would offset those reductions through the elimination of select tax credits and a thorough review of existing tax preferences with an expectation of reduction or elimination of a number of tax credits.
Sen. Rick Brinkley, R-Owasso, served as Vice-chair of the task force.
“These reforms are aimed at simplifying tax law and reducing rates for individuals and businesses,” Brinkley said. “The overall goal is to grow our economy while continuing to make crucial investments in core government services such as education, transportation and public safety,” Brinkley said.
The final recommendation of the task force stresses that other important reforms must be examined should the Legislature consider making Oklahoma a no income tax state.
Throughout the interim, the task force heard from a variety of speakers, including representatives from the Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs, the Oklahoma Policy Institute, the National Conference of State Legislatures, state and local chambers of commerce, economists, specialists in tax and business law and the National Federation of Independent Business.
“I want to thank the members of the task force and all those who participated for their hard work throughout this process,” Mazzei said. “This report is a blueprint that will benefit Oklahomans while attracting the jobs and businesses that will result in the kind of economic development necessary to boost per capita income and quality of life throughout our state.”