Religious leaders: Lawmakers making up budget shortfall by cutting tax credits for mothers, poor Oklahomans

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OKLAHOMA CITY - As lawmakers are attempting to close the $1.3 billion hole in the state budget, religious leaders are pleading for the poor.

Under current proposals from the governor and Republican lawmakers, three separate tax credits would be eliminated.

The tax credits that are on the chopping block include the child tax credit, the earned income tax credit and the sales tax relief credit.

Religious and non-profit leaders, who work often with the poorest Oklahomans, asked lawmakers Wednesday to keep those credits.

They said the credits add up to a couple hundred dollars for one in 10 people in our state, mainly households with single mothers.

“These hard working women who are on average paid less than their male counterparts shouldn’t, yet again, pay the price for the state’s fiscal problem,” said Oklahoma Women’s Coalition Executive Director Danielle Ezell.

If these tax credits are slashed, it’ll save the state $76 million.

A couple making $35,000 a year would pay nearly $200 more per year in taxes.

“I think they’re part of the discussion. I think we just have to be careful in what we do, a lot of our citizens are hurting right now. That’s why we want to protect some of those places where they access services,” said Secretary of Finance Director Preston Doerflinger.

Under the governor’s proposal, she wants to borrow money to make up part of the budget shortfall.

“We need the secretary of finance to stop throwing darts and give us a long-term budget proposal as opposed to these fixes that don’t even get us six years down the road before we have to declare a failure and start over again,” said Rep. Cory Williams.

The legislature has just two weeks now to figure it out.

Senate leaders tell NewsChannel 4 they will vote on whether to eliminate these tax credits on Thursday.

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