Gov. Kevin Stitt Discusses Tax Cuts, Emergency Management Funding

At the state capitol, Gov. Stitt is pushing lawmakers to cut taxes as they work to finalize the state budget, mainly calling for a cut to the personal income tax.

Friday, May 10th 2024, 4:34 pm

At the state capitol, Governor Stitt is pushing lawmakers to cut taxes as they work to finalize the state budget. Stitt is mainly calling for a cut to the personal income tax.

“I have been beating the tax cut drum not to keep growing expenses,” said Governor Kevin Stitt. “It's that simple to me, when we have growing revenue it should be automatic to get that back to the taxpayers.”

Budget negotiations continued at the state capitol this week, as lawmakers work to determine where more than $13 billion state dollars will be appropriated. 

The state house has been in favor of the personal income tax cut, while the senate has been wary up to this point.

“I've told Oklahomans this the whole time that if I could write the bills we would probably already have a 0% income tax rate because our economy has been booming so much over the last few years,” said Stitt.

The senate changed this tune during budget negotiations this week, now saying they will discuss tax cuts, as long as they can keep at least $1 billion in savings. Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat says he is not interested in tapping too far into recurring revenue, to ensure they are not negatively impacting the future of the state.

“The other thing to remember, this money does not disappear, it just doesn't get washed through the government, it stays in the people's pockets, it spins in the economy seven times average and actually comes back to the state as far as revenue,” said Governor Stitt.

Governor Stitt has called for a quarter point cut of the personal income tax, or a path to zero, now saying the smartest move would be to move to a flat tax.

“That would help the poorest Oklahomans. In other words every Oklahoman that makes less than $27,100 would pay no taxes so that's my latest iteration to say "let's do something to help people with inflation,” said Stitt.

While there are still several big issues to be resolved in the state budget, Governor Stitt has made one thing clear: “I am for any tax cut that I can get the house and senate to sign and get on my desk.”

One agreement that lawmakers did come to is to put $45 million state dollars towards emergency management to help with storm cleanup efforts. 

Governor Kevin Stitt says he’s working with the Biden administration to get funding for storm damage cleanups in the state. Stitt says he has asked for a full match for the next 90 days, then looking for a 90%-10% split between the federal government and the state, as opposed to the traditional 75%-25% split the state has had in the past. 

Stitt says he is still waiting for that approval at this point, and is still working on the full damage assessments in some of the hardest hit areas of the state.


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