Gov. Mary Fallin offers bold plan to address Oklahoma budget woes
By The Oklahoman Editorial Board | February 7, 2017
GOV. Mary Fallin’s State of the State address and proposed budget make one thing clear: She’s not being timid or ducking issues because they might be controversial.
Fallin called Monday for dramatic changes in Oklahoma’s tax system. The top-line figures are eye-catching. Roughly $1 billion in tax increases of various stripes are included in her budget, partially offset by repeal of the sales tax on groceries and corporate income tax.
The short-term goal is to address an $868 million shortfall without cutting state spending further. Fallin argues the longer-term goal is to adjust Oklahoma’s tax system to better reflect the modern economy. This is especially true of her call to begin taxing many services that are now untaxed. Oklahoma’s economy is more service-driven than ever. Therefore, the governor argues, the tax system should be broader to reflect those changes.
This is the fourth year in a row Oklahoma has faced a budget shortfall (ranging from $188 million to $1.3 billion). Fallin suggests that trend will continue unless Oklahoma’s tax system is restructured.