Three Small Biz Experts Agree on Internet Tax, Split on Income Tax

  • Joe Wertz

Oklahoma State Senate

State Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, co-chairs a task force that will recommend tax reforms to the Governor and state Legislature.

The tax reform task force heard from a trio of small business experts at its final meeting on Thursday.

The panel is preparing a report for Gov. Mary Fallin and the Legislature. State Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, told the Tulsa World that the experts agreed on several points.

Reporter Wayne Greene with the bullet points:

  • Make Oklahoma’s business tax system simpler.
  • Keep state taxes away from intangible assets.
  • Figure out a way to enforce state taxes on Internet sales.
  • Examine special-interest income tax credits critically with an eye toward eliminating most – if not all – of them.

What small business owners really want is a simpler system, said Jerrod Shouse, state director of the National Federation of Independent Businesses, according to a report by Oklahoma Watch’s Peter J. Rudy.

”Anything that keeps it easy for us, where we don’t have to spend the afternoon with our accountant to figure things out, that’s more time we can spend back at our business, using our energy there and growing the economy.”

But there was less agreement on what to do with any money saved from such reforms, the World reported.

Two of the three experts cautioned against taking drastic actions on Oklahoma’s individual income tax, and suggested using extra revenues to improve core government services, the World reported.

Ron Barber, a tax attorney and CPA who has been involved in the founding of more than 1,000 businesses, said Oklahoma’s income tax rate is a low priority to people making decisions about where to create jobs.

Decision-makers are much more concerned with quality of life, schools, housing, infrastructure and finding good workers, Barber said, according to the World.

But Rep. David Dank, R-Oklahoma City, who co-chairs the panel alongside Mazzei, reaffirmed his anti-income tax stance.

[Dank] told Barber of a friend who was a top executive with Kerr-McGee Oil Co. who had moved his legal residence to Texas to avoid paying state taxes on capital gains.