The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

Opinion

December 14, 2012

Fallin, legislators should proceed with caution on cutting state income taxes

ENID, Okla. — Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders have brought up the idea of cutting the state income tax again when the Legislature returns in February.

Fallin laid out a tax-cut plan last session, but it fell apart for a variety of reasons.

A lot of what could be proposed this time will depend on what happens in Washington, D.C., where lawmakers and the president continue to wrangle over the budget situation.

Whatever happens, we would urge Fallin and legislative leaders to proceed with caution.

Sure, we all would love to pay lower taxes. Who wouldn’t? But, state government also has a responsibility to provide the core services we all need, and the money for those services must come from somewhere.

There’s education to fund, at the common school level and higher education. Our state’s roads and bridges continue to rank near the bottom. They’ve got to be repaired.

Senate President Pro Tem Brian Bingman, R-Sapulpa, had some wise remarks: “Oklahoma is in much better shape than the rest of the states, but I think there are ways to look at being responsible when we look at cutting taxes.”

He also said the state has “a lot of challenges ahead of us, and the economy is not growing the way we want it to ...”

One of those challenges we can readily see is the continued drought. According to figures from Oklahoma State University, during the past two years the drought has had a $2 billion impact on agriculture.

That’s a huge amount of money, and around  here think about the ripple effect such losses would have. Farmers lose income, they spend less at stores, etc.

Yes, any such talk of tax cuts needs to be done with a large amount of caution.

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