House Republicans Fend Off Democrat Attacks on Taxpayers’ Wallets

OKLAHOMA CITY – House Democrats launched an attempt to raise personal income taxes by amending House Bill 1778 today, but House Republicans held their ground and defeated the amendment to ensure Oklahomans control more of their hard-earned money.

“I thank my fellow members for taking a stand for conservative economic principles,” said House Speaker Jeffrey W. Hickman, R-Fairview. “The tax reduction we fought to protect today will ensure Oklahomans keep more of their own money.”

Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Board of Equalization approved revenue projections that triggered a reduction in the personal income-tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent beginning January 1, 2016. Since Oklahoma reduced personal income taxes by 25 percent over the past decade, the state has seen increases in tax revenues.

“Raising taxes is not the answer,” said Rep. Earl Sears, chairman of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee. “The Legislature will continue to reform our current tax code, including reform of tax credits, so that we can continue to invest in core government services. Additional attempts to raise taxes on hardworking Oklahomans will be defeated.”

“Arguments made by Democrat leadership that Oklahoma is facing a tight budget due to income-tax cuts is simply not true,” said Rep. Leslie Osborn, R–Mustang, who presented the tax cut legislation on the House floor last year. “Our state does not have a revenue problem. We will not fall into the rhetoric trap we hear from our Democrat colleagues that government knows best when spending the people’s money.”

“Under Republican leadership, Oklahoma has radically changed for the better over the past 10 years,” said Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Edmond, the first Revenue and Taxation Committee chairman after Republicans gained the majority in the House in 2004. “Our increased job growth, low unemployment rate and our economic success hinges on competitive pro-business tax rates and conservative policies. If we want job growth to stop and business to leave Oklahoma, then we should reconsider the Democrat amendment and start raising taxes. The people of Oklahoma do not deserve such punishment.”