Oklahomans Face Higher Taxes, Less Services

At a recent meeting of a legislative interim study to look at the implications of SQ 744, lawmakers were told that they may be forced to look at raising tax rates to bring more funds into the state’s budget, reports the State Chamber of Commerce.
SQ 774, if passed a year from now in November 2010, would mandate common education funding to equal that of our six-state region. SQ 744 is sponsored by the Oklahoma teachers’ union.
According to House fiscal staff, in order to increase common education funding by $850 million (the estimated amount required in SQ 744), the state income tax rate would have to be increased from 5.5 percent to approximately 7.35 percent, or a 34 percent increase overall. Another option would be to raise the state’s sales tax rate, which would go from 4.5 percent currently to about 6.2 percent, or a 38 percent jump.
Another option would be funding cuts to the rest of state government. Since common education would be excluded from any reduction in funding, the remaining state agencies, from transportation to corrections, could see across the board cuts of as high as 20 percent to make the necessary funds available.

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