Oklahoma City, OK 73105
For Immediate Release: February 22, 2017
Sen Roger Thompson won approval for SB 170 in Senate Appropriations
Bill repealing second income tax
cut trigger heads to full Senate
Senate Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday in favor of a bill
that would effectively stop another income tax cut from automatically
going into effect based on revenue growth. Sen. Roger
Thompson is the author of Senate Bill 170. He’s the chair
of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Finance, where the
bill easily passed its first hurdle Tuesday.
“Right now we certainly have more outstanding obligations
than we have money. With the decline in revenue, it would not take
a whole lot to activate that trigger,” said Thompson, R-Okemah.
“Let’s just stop the income tax where it is at five
percent—maybe future Legislatures can revisit it, but we need
to stabilize our revenues.”
Legislation signed into law in 2014 contained a two-part state income
tax reduction. The first lowered the state’s top income tax
rate from 5.25 to five percent. The rate would have been further
reduced to 4.85 percent—the trigger for that reduction would
be revenue growth of about $97 million, the cost of implementing
the cut. Thompson’s bill kills that trigger.
“Two years ago, we had a $600 million shortfall. Last year,
it was $1.3 billion. This year, it’s $878 million. Even if
we weren’t facing another shortfall, we still have tremendous
financial obligations we have to meet this year. We only provided
the Department of Human Services with enough money for 10 months.
We still have to make up the other two months. The state’s
cost for teachers’ health insurance has increased. And those
are just two examples of what we are facing,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the feedback he’s received from constituents
has been overwhelmingly in favor of his legislation.
“What I am hearing from Oklahomans is they are very concerned
about the current budget situation and how it is impacting core
services like education, health and mental health, public safety
and transportation,” Thompson said. “They worry the
trigger could undo any improvement by wiping out growth revenue.
Senate Bill 170 will stop that from happening.”
SB 170 now moves to the full Senate for further consideration.
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