Oklahoma House approves repeal of income tax cut trigger for wealthiest Oklahomans

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Oklahoma State Capitol

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OKLAHOMA CITY – A bill that would repeal a controversial income tax break that is costing the state hundreds of millions of dollars will be heading to the Senate for final approval.

Legislation passed in 2014 provided a mechanism to reduce Oklahoma’s tax rates.

Initially, the wealthiest Oklahomans paid 5.25 percent in income taxes. However, the measure dropped that tax rate to 5 percent and provided a mechanism for it to continue to drop to 4.85 percent.

In 2014, the memorandum estimated that the state would lose an estimated $142 million in 2016 and $153 million in 2017 when the tax rate dropped to 5 percent.

It also estimated the state would lose $266 million in 2018 if the top income tax rate is dropped to 4.85 percent.

Since that legislation was passed, state revenues have plummeted and the state faces a budget hole of nearly $900 million.

State finance officials, including Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger and Treasurer Ken Miller, have suggested that lawmakers scrap or revise the trigger point until state revenues have stabilized.

Now, the Oklahoma House of Representatives have approved legislation that would repeal that tax cut’s trigger, which would have allowed the tax rate to drop to 4.85 percent next year.

On Wednesday, the House approved Senate Bill 170 with a vote of 75-12.

Last month, the Oklahoma Senate approved the measure with a vote of 39-6.

Now, the bill heads back to the Senate for final passage.

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