Oklahomans have reason to question state’s financial management
by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
AS Oklahoma lawmakers grapple with budget shortfalls, many numbers have been tossed about. Yet some relevant figures have been mostly ignored. That’s starting to change.
In a recent letter to legislators, former U.S. Sen. Tom Coburn, former Gov. Frank Keating and former Secretary of State Larry Parman, all Republicans, pointed out that economic reality explains many state challenges.
Citing Oklahoma Tax Commission reports, the three noted that reported taxable income in Oklahoma plummeted more than $13 billion from 2014 to 2015. From the 2015 to 2016 state budget years, Oklahomans cut purchases subject to state sales and use tax by $4.1 billion.
Those who blame income tax cuts (primarily enacted in the 2005 and 2006 legislative sessions) for today’s financial problems are missing the big picture. When income falls by billions, the state will collect less in income tax, no matter what income tax rate is in place.