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Tax agreement near as opposition forms

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ As lawmakers negotiate which tax cut program to approve this year, concerns about how the cuts will affect state funding have surfaced.

Three different approaches to tax cuts were unveiled in January and February, and the House, Senate and governor's office are hashing out which ones will work.

Governor Brad Henry's $100 million tax rebate plan calls for taxpayers getting checks of $50- to $100 this year, plus $63 million in other cuts.

House Speaker Todd Hiett countered by proposing a permanent cut in the maximum income tax rate from 6.65 percent to 6.25 percent, a $108 million reduction.

The state Senate advocates raising the standard deduction over a four-year period to the level allowed on federal income taxes, which would cost $58 million next year but zoom to $252 million when fully implemented.

A coalition of 51 organizations, ranging from education groups to the American Association of Retired Persons, are concerned the reductions could harm health, education and social programs.
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