UPDATED STATEMENT FROM DR. TOM COBURN, FORMER U.S. SENATOR, ON EFFORTS TO INCREASE PERSONAL INCOME TAXES IN OKLAHOMA
May 12, 2017

This week, House and Senate committees at the Oklahoma Legislature have passed multiple bills, including House Bill 2347 and House Bill 2403, which cap personal itemized deductions effective January 1, 2017. Dr. Tom Coburn has issued the following, updated statement regarding efforts to have one of these bills approved by the entire Legislature and sent to the Governor for approval:

“Efforts to cap itemized deductions in order to increase personal income taxes by more than $100 million on hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans directly oppose the promises by conservatives to do the tough work of going line by line through every expenditure of government and to reform government so that it lives within the current tax burden in Oklahoma, especially during a tough economy. These efforts should stop immediately.

“Oklahoma’s economy is hurting due to the recessionary effects of OPEC’s energy price war and stagnant economic growth due to the failed tax, spend, and regulate policies for 8 years under the Obama administration.

“Oklahoma policymakers shouldn’t exacerbate Oklahoma’s problems by enacting a tax increase that penalizes the productive behavior of Oklahomans who have a mortgage, who pay significant sums of property taxes to support their local schools, and who pay for significant family medical expenses.

“Oklahoma policymakers should reject efforts to pass backdoor income tax increases and instead work to eliminate millions in subsidies for out-of-state wind companies, millions in bloat and waste in higher education, millions in tobacco settlement spending on efforts harassing Oklahomans about their health, millions diverted to the build-up of funds for Career Tech buildings and non-classroom spending in common education, millions in rebates for tribal entities selling cigarettes, millions in preferential tax treatment for tribal activity that competes with non-tribal commerce, and millions in administrative overhead exploding in our public schools. Ending these inappropriate spending efforts are all better substitutes than a personal income tax increase of more than $100 million on hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans.

“I urge Oklahomans across the state to make your voices heard over the throng of lobbyists, special interests and tax consumers who are inundating lawmakers with the rhetoric that the sky is falling and you must pay more in taxes—and urge your legislators and the Governor to oppose HB 2347, HB 2403 and any efforts increasing personal income taxes on Oklahomans.

“I urge lawmakers and the Governor to reject the rhetoric of lobbyists, special interests and tax consumers and fulfill their campaign promises to protect taxpayers.”