Tax Cut Plan Unveiled

Monday, September 17th 2007, 1:56 pm
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahomans who work overtime would get a tax break under legislation proposed Monday.

Senator Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, and Representative Bud Smithson, D-Sallisaw, said their plan would exempt overtime pay from state income taxes.

Corn said it would help many Oklahomans who work hard but still live paycheck to paycheck.

He said he would ask the Oklahoma Tax Commission for an estimate of the plan's cost to state government.

Whatever it is, Corn said workers will spend their tax savings on groceries, clothing and other necessities, aiding local economies.

Smithson said too many of the tax cuts approved by the Oklahoma Legislature and Congress mainly benefit the wealthy.

``It wouldn't help me. If I do a lot of work extra, it's just expected as part of the salary,'' said Rick Riggie as he pumped gasoline at a local service station.

But for those who get the tax break, more power to them, said Riggie, who works for a title insurance company after retiring as a Department of Defense official at Tinker Air Force Base.

David Scott, 45-year-old Oklahoma City sanitation worker, said he had not thought much about overtime because he has been off work attending to his wife, who is in the hospital.

``I don't know what to think about it,'' Scott mused. ``On second thought, every little big helps.''

He said overtime comes and goes on his job, but there are weeks when he works up to 10 hours extra.

Corn said the bill could potentially help most every Oklahoman who gets a salary.

``There are thousands of Oklahomans who put in overtime just to try to make ends meet, but see much of that taken away in taxes,'' Smithson said.

Jimmy Curry, president of the Oklahoma AFL-CIO, said he supported the measure.

Corn said it would take strong leadership to enact a broader tax cut to help working families, such as elimination of the state sales tax on groceries. Oklahoma is among the minority of states that tax grocery purchases.

Eliminating the sales tax on groceries probably would require a vote of the people as part of a tax overhaul package, Corn said.

Senate co-President Pro Tem Glenn Coffee, R-Oklahoma City, said the Corn-Smithson plan is an idea promoted nationally by prominent members of his party, including former Republican U.S. House Speaker New Gingrich.

Coffee said Oklahoma Republicans are willing to consider the proposal.