Fate of Oklahoma tax reduction bill could rest on a single word — ‘raise’
by Rick Green

The fate of an income tax reduction measure approved by the Oklahoma Legislature last session may rest on a single word — raise.

Attorney Jerry Fent contends in his lawsuit, which will be the subject of a state Supreme Court hearing Oct. 14, that the word means collect, or gather, and when used in the context of taxation triggers a series of conditions for the way such legislation must be approved.

Jerry Fent has taken the state to court multiple times over how it handles bond and tax issues.

The state contends the word means increase and since the law at issue decreases taxes, it need not meet these conditions and was therefore handled appropriately by lawmakers and is constitutional.

Senate Bill 1246, which was signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin, calls for a gradual reduction in the state’s top personal income tax rate from 5.25 percent to 4.85 percent. The cut is set to take effect for the 2016 tax year if general revenue meets benchmarks set forth in the legislation.

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