Oklahoma House of Representatives

Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems for Many State Agencies

  • Joe Wertz

Oklahoma House of Representatives

House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, says it's "disingenuous" to say the $47 million in unexpected revenue justifies an income tax cut plan that will increase taxes for nearly one-third of the state.

Yesterday, state lawmakers learned they’d have an additional $47 million for appropriations.

The money should be spent, but not on the state itself, say Republican lawmakers who want to use the money to reduce Oklahoma’s personal income tax.

“While it’s great news that the state has more revenue than expected, it should not be seen as an excuse to increase government bureaucracy or to go on a spending spree,” said Gov. Mary Fallin, The Oklahoman reports.

Other state revenue estimates were off, and not in a good way. Natural gas prices are low, and anticipated revenues from related gross production taxes have been cut by almost $87 million.

And some tax breaks to the oil and gas industry have more than doubled, which will cost the state about $48 million.

The $6.6 billion fiscal year 2013 budget is a 2.6 percent increase over last year’s budget. That’s about $168 million more, but Republican Legislative leaders say it’s unlikely that many state agencies will see any of that money.

Senate Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, agreed with the governor.

The Oklahoman’s story didn’t include any perspective from Democratic leadership, but the Tulsa World’s did.

To say a $47 million increase justifies a tax cut plan that will increase taxes on nearly one-third of the state while gutting core services is disingenuous,” House Minority Leader Scott Inman, D-Del City, told reporter Barbara Hoberock.