BY SHARON MARTIN
First, a pound of coffee became 13 ounces. Manufacturers knew it was easier to sell a smaller can than a higher-priced one. Then, those 16-ounce cans of green beans shrank to 15 ounces. And what happened to that half-gallon carton of ice cream?
Now the Oklahoma Legislature is playing the same old marketing tricks with income tax laws.
Sen. Mike Mazzei, R-Tulsa, authored SB 1623 that would reduce the state income tax by half a percentage point over two years. To offset the cuts, some tax credits had to be eliminated. Here’s how the Senate proposal would increase revenue.
Mazzei’s bill would eliminate the child-care credit. If you are a working parent, what will that cost you?
You’ve seen the Oklahoma College Savings Plan touted in local ads; that tax credit will be eliminated. If you’re planning on sending your kids to college with the help of the savings plan, it’s going to get a little harder.
And if you are one of the poorest Oklahomans who qualifies for a sales tax credit, you lose. Losing the refund of your sales taxes is really an increase on what you pay for food and clothes when it all shakes out. And that’s just for starters.
As the tax increase is phased in, there will be a surge in tax revenue in 2013, about $3.3 million according to the Oklahoma Tax Commission. By 2014, the plan will be near revenue neutral.
Revenue neutral means that for every dollar cut, there has to be a dollar increase. Well, here’s the big one: no more personal exemption.
If you earn a lot of money, your half percentage decrease in taxes on those wages more than offsets your personal exemption. For the rest of us, our taxes will go up.
Not exactly a tax cut plan is it?
What did you expect from a state that is hell bent on destroying public education? Fairness?
To paraphrase an old saw, rising bathwater lifts all rubber ducks. But our Legislature insists on letting all the water out of the tub. Fortunately there’s a separate luxury tub for legislators’ buddies to play in.
The rest of us can go eat our 13-ounce can of soup and shut up. It’s not about us; it’s about the guys who buy our votes with their slick ads, shady robocalls, and just plain lies.
– Sharon Martin lives in Oilton, OK and is a regular contributor to The Oklahoma Observer