Skip to content


January 13, 2013

While everyone’s attention is on the antics of our Washington DC senate and house, we need to start moving our focus to Oklahoma City and our elected officials who are starting a new round of legislative issues. Some of these issues will not be new but simply reruns of items they could not get passed last session. The reader should readily recognize PERSONHOOD, MARRIAGE BETWEEN MAN AND WOMAN and TAXES. Today, let’s discuss income taxes vs. the alternatives.
Nothing much has changed. All of the above are going to be recurring themes until the end of the aforementioned legislators’ terms of office.
What they should be focusing on is the income inequity among the working people of Oklahoma. In a new report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and the Economic Policy Institute, statistics from the late 1970s to 2007 showed that incomes for those living below the established poverty line dropped 12.8%, middle-class incomes rose 16% while the top 5% showed a 71.6% rise in income! The income inequity between the top and middle classes represents the third highest increase in the nation, only outdone by Connecticut and California. From 50 states, Oklahoma ranks eighth-worst for the income gap between the top and the middle classes.
While Oklahoma did not suffer any long periods of high unemployment (8% or above) the number of minimum-wage jobs, of which there is an abundance in Oklahoma, has not kept up with consumer-price increases. Cutting Oklahoma’s income tax is not the way to alleviate the growing discrepancy here. With the current revenue-neutral ideology prevailing in our legislature, a cut in income taxes will mean money has to be made up via another avenue. Basic math tells us if a person gains only $50.00 in spendable income on each $1,000.00 earned, while Oklahoma loses 1/3 of its spendable revenue at the same time, our economy will either have to stagnate, benefits to those who need them the most will go unfunded or legislators will decide upon an increase in sales tax, the MOST REGRESSIVE form of taxation there is. Your income tax will be lowered while sales taxes on all your food, medicines, clothing and other purchases will rise by the same or greater percentage. That means you, as an average worker, not being in the top income class, will be paying out more of your income to Oklahoma than you would under the current income tax codes. Tax reduction will benefit only the top percentile of taxpayers who realize sufficient income-reducing deductions. Income taxes currently collected account for one-third of this state’s budget. If an increase in sales tax does not balance the budget, cuts in programs (education, food stamps, MedicAid, etc…) will follow.
One of the first things the present administration likes to cut is education, disenfranchising Oklahoma’s children, then the elderly and infirm. When education takes a legislative cut, county school districts must find ways to fund programs (free lunches, operating buses). Up will go property taxes, affecting homeowners and renters alike. Services and goods prices will also go up because businesses providing them will have an increase in their commercial property taxes. The cycle continues while those in the top income brackets realize a great deal more in take home pay than the minimum wage earner or a couple with a middle-class life style.
If income taxes are reduced or a total income tax repeal comes to pass during this or any legislative session, that will generate some of the most regressive taxes on the poor and middle classes that Oklahoma has ever seen. Should our governor and many of our ill-advised legislators choose to continue on this income-tax reduction path, the gap in Oklahoma’s current income inequity will keep widening, with those presently living on incomes below the poverty level left completely out of our social and economic systems!
Kenneth Wells


From → Uncategorized

Leave a Comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: