Oklahoma Academy: Keep the Income Tax, Add More Tax Breaks and Credits

  • Joe Wertz

Swimming against a stream of lawmakers and legislative panels, the Oklahoma Academy for State Goals on Monday recommended the state create more tax breaks and economic incentives.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan academy hosts an annual town hall that takes up major policy issues affecting the state. The October event included 150 participants and focused on the state economy.

The academy released eight recommendations yesterday, The Oklahoman reported. Among those, the academy cautioned against eliminating the personal income tax.

The Tulsa World’s Barbara Hoberock:

“The state income tax should not be eliminated until further independent studies have been conducted on the impact and a budget-neutral strategy has been developed,” it stated.

The Oklahoman’s Megan Rolland had details from academy president Julie Knutson:

“That is one area in which the town hall was not in agreement with the governor’s task force and there really was much discussion on this,” Knutson said.

The Oklahoman led with the academy’s recommendation that a $1 billion bond issue be created for research and development, but the academy’s “top” recommendation, according to the World, was the creation of a “work force development plan.”

The academy also recommended replacing businesses-specific tax credits with ones that would be available to a wide range of businesses, the Tulsa paper reported.

Bullet points of other academy recommendations, courtesy of the World:

  • Creating a master plan for development of the Oklahoma workforce by December 2013
  • Explore making the Department of Commerce a public-private partnership instead of a state run agency
  • Clarify the role of the newly created and unfunded Closing Fund for economic development
  • Creating additional options for workers’ compensation including opt-out for employers and employee pay programs
  • Developing and improving working relationships with Oklahoma’s many tribal governments