From the desk of Rep. John Talley, District 33

 

(Ok House of Representatives, OKC) — This week, the House answered the Governor’s call and convened in special session to pass a 0.25% income tax rate cut. House Bill 1002 passed 71-20, but the fate of the bill now rests with the Senate, who have not chosen to take it up at this time.

 

I wanted to express my gratitude for all the input and thoughts you’ve shared regarding the recent vote on the 0.25% tax reduction. It’s so important for us to have open and honest discussions, especially considering the complicated challenges our state is facing today, like road issues, teacher pay, mental health concerns and more.

 

Since I was first elected to represent House District 33, I have learned a lot about how the process to create good policy works.

 

One of the most important things I’ve realized in the past few years is how difficult it is to find the delicate balance between personal freedom and public safety. However, I don’t think the conversation surrounding the 0.25% income tax cut needs to be an argument between funding essential services and letting taxpayers keep more of their hard-earned money.

 

Last year, we made historic investments in education. Meanwhile, the Oklahoma Dept. of Transportation has seen a 24% increase in their budget from FY-21 to today. Additionally, appropriations for mental health have seen an upward trend over the past three years.

 

We are working to improve our state little by little, but tackling these issues is a step-by-step process. We won’t fix every road, every school, and every hospital overnight.

 

Contrary to what many are saying, cutting income tax doesn’t necessarily mean our state will see a decrease in revenue for future state budgets. While I don’t fully understand how it works, the data surrounding the correlation between income tax cuts and overall state revenue suggests a compelling trend. Nationally, states that have slashed income taxes have seen growth of $500 million or more in state revenue.

 

Our state’s financial health is already in great shape. We’re boasting the highest savings levels ever recorded! This is an opportune time to cut taxes for our citizens. I worry that if we don’t cut taxes for Oklahomans during such a strong surplus, we risk never cutting taxes. Not only can we afford it, but it would also bring relief to Oklahomans across the state who are still dealing with record inflation.

 

As session officially begins next week, other forms of tax cuts remain on the table, including the state grocery tax, which I am supportive of cutting and have heard from many of you about. I’ll keep you updated on HB1002 and other tax cut bills throughout session.

 

Again, thanks for engaging in this ongoing conversation. Keep reaching out to me at 405-557-7304 or [email protected] with any questions or concerns I may be able to assist with. Thank you for the honor of representing House District 33 at the State Capitol!