Budget & Tax
Dr. Tom Coburn on proposed tax increases
March 26, 2018
In response to proposals to raise income taxes again by capping itemized deductions and by imposing a capital gains tax, former U.S. Senator Dr. Tom Coburn released the following statement:
“At a time when reports on Oklahoma’s economy show that Oklahomans are just now clawing out of a multi-year recession, it would be destructive for Oklahoma’s economy if we were to increase income taxes in any way on middle-income families, small businesses, or entrepreneurs. Capping itemized deductions and imposing capital gains taxes hurts crucial efforts to diversify Oklahoma’s economy.
“Income taxes put Oklahoma at a huge disadvantage with Texas because Texas has no income or capital gains taxes at all. Since 2011, politicians who ran on right-sizing government and reducing the personal income tax burden have only cut personal income taxes one time, by a quarter of one percent. Yet over this same period, politicians have increased income taxes in a back-door manner on multiple occasions by eliminating broadly used deductions and exemptions and by devaluing the standard deduction, all to spare themselves the tough work of reforming state government, reining in unnecessary spending, and eliminating hundreds of millions of dollars in taxpayer-funded giveaways for wind, tribal tobacco sales, and other crony capitalism. The back-door income tax increases enacted by lawmakers since 2011 have erased income tax relief based on lawmakers’ actions since 2011.
“Policymakers should turn their attention to their number-one job as an elected official during times like these, which is the tough but necessary work of strong fiscal governance and oversight. Opportunities abound to find savings in Oklahoma state government to allow for teachers to be paid significant raises and fund core services.
“It’s time for politicians to fulfill their promises, which were to respect Oklahoma families’ budgets and make Oklahoma government work better without raising taxes on the most vulnerable, on working Oklahoma families, and on small businesses – those who cannot afford lobbyists or the self-serving representation of various bureaucrats, crony-capitalists, and special interests who have been allowed to hijack spending-reform efforts.”