In the News . . .

Kirby working with broad coalition of state lawmakers to phase out income tax
Mon, 30 Jan 2012

Kirby working with broad coalition of state lawmakers to phase out income tax

OKLAHOMA CITY (Jan 27, 2012) — State Rep. Dan Kirby of Tulsa, along with a coalition of state lawmakers, have filed legislation to phase out Oklahoma’s personal income tax in such a way that the state would have the lowest overall tax burden in the continental United States.

Kirby said the proposal, while still a work in progress, would phase out the personal income tax in a responsible manner over 10 years and would not involve raising other tax rates or cutting funding to core government services.

“Reducing the tax burden for Oklahoma families remains an important focus for me,” Kirby said. “HB3038 will allow Oklahoma to continue the efforts made, while creating new revenue and a better economic environment for all, both business and personal.”

The coalition of 23 members of the state House of Representatives — more than one-fifth of that legislative body — that filed the legislation consists of rural and urban lawmakers from all four quadrants of the state.

Kirby said coalition members agree that, while Oklahoma has moved up in recent years from being among the poorest states in the nation to now beating the national average in many economic indicators, it is important to continue lowering the state’s tax burden.

Without the state personal income tax, the average Oklahoma family of four would save over $1,300 a year, and the average individual tax filer would save nearly $1,000 annually.

The proposal would not require raising or expanding any other existing tax rates, such as property or sales taxes, and would not require introducing any new forms of taxation.

Should the state personal income tax be phased out in this manner, Oklahoma would have the lowest overall tax burden among the continental United States and Hawaii. Of the 50 states, only Alaska would have a lower tax burden.

Oklahoma already has a low cost of living compared to most states. By combining this with a lower overall tax burden and other pro-growth reforms made by policymakers in recent years, the state would have one of the best economic climates and best environments for job creation in the nation, Kirby said.

Current efforts in Kansas and Missouri to eliminate personal income taxes in those states may serve as additional motivation for Oklahoma to do the same.

By phasing out the personal income tax over 10 years, state government entities would have ample time to make adjustments, and growth revenue from other sources would support core services such as education, transportation, public safety, and the safety net for the truly needy.

As the phase-out took effect, the increased economic activity and job growth in Oklahoma would result in a broader tax base and increased revenues overall, Kirby said