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Okla Policy Institute Proposes Budget Ideas (Apr 13, 2011)

OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Policy Institute released proposals on Wednesday it said could help fill in the half-billion dollar budget hole faced by state lawmakers, while also preserving core state services.

OPI Director David Blatt said the expected budget cuts will hurt Oklahoma’s school children, correctional officers and other vulnerable groups.

Blatt said while some of the provisions his organization endorses may be politically tough, they deserve consideration.

“There needs to be a lot of revenue ideas on the table,” Blatt said. “And some of the things that we are talking about are closing some tax deductions. For examples, Oklahomans can deduct their state income tax when they file their state income tax return. That seems to be a deduction that serves no purpose and only five or six other states allow.”

Blatt said there are also several sale tax exemptions that could be eliminated to help prop up the state budget.

The Oklahoma Policy Institute recommends lawmakers defer any additional reductions in the state’s income tax rate, at least while budgets are being cut.

by Kurt Gwartney

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