Oklahoma lawmaker wants to resurrect Earned Income Tax Credit refund

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Oklahoma Capitol

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OKLAHOMA CITY – As Oklahoma lawmakers faced a $1.3 billion budget shortfall last legislative session, they made specific choices on what programs and services were cut.

The Earned Income Tax Credit was a credit that could be claimed by low-income workers to avoid paying a ‘disproportionate percentage’ of their income taxes, says Rep. George E. Young, Sr.

In 2016, lawmakers voted to make the Earned Income Tax Credit non-refundable for about 355,000 low-income Oklahomans, saying it would increase tax collections by $29 million in 2017.

The maximum tax credit for a family with two children was $277, while a family of three could receive $312.

After the move was signed into law, Rep.Young says more than 5,000 families in his district were negatively affected by the bill.

“Why this burden should be placed on the people of my district- where the very benefit of this credit has been doing the most good- is beyond any sensible reasoning,” Young said.

Now, Young has introduced House Bill 1474, which would restore the Earned Income Tax Credit and make it refundable.

This is one of several bills on the table for the upcoming legislative session, as the state faces another massive budget shortfall.

Earlier this month, Oklahoma Secretary of Finance Preston Doerflinger announced that December’s revenue missed the mark by more than 12 percent.

Lawmakers say they are already preparing for an $870 million budget shortfall. Experts say that amount could grow if collections across the state do not increase.

 

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