OK Lawmaker Wants To Reward Married Couples Through Taxes - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

OK Lawmaker Wants To Reward Married Couples Through Taxes

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Oklahoma has the highest divorce rate in the nation. Lawmakers feel that cost of all those splits is on the state.

So now marriage could be encouraged through taxes.

"Money is never a reason to anything," said Kendall Richardson.

The Richardson's have been happily married for 19 years, and while money isn't their driving force, they understand it could help.

"If it can be seen as a benefit financially I could see it as a benefit," said Richardson.

So with the hopes of rewarding marriages like the Richardson's, Representative Tom Newell has developed a formula.

"Marriage has huge benefits for society and we want to show that," said Representative Tom Newell.

So the longer you're married, the more the tax deductions. Three years of marriage bliss equals $200 in deduction. That amount increases every few years. Until your 50th anniversary, which is when the deductions cap at $2,400.

"The problems in marriage are costing the state tons of money," said Newell.

One study from stronger marriage dot org showed the average divorce in America costs state and federal governments $30,000 in direct and indirect costs. But for representative Steve Martin, this bill isn't the solution.

"The amount of manipulation of positive behavior would not be justified," said Representative Martin.

Although the bill escaped the subcommittee with a 7-6 it could still face a lot of opposition with non-supporters stating the money could simply be used elsewhere."

"People will not remain in a marriage in hopes of a tax credit," said Martin.

If passed, the bill could cost the state over 11 million dollars in uncollected taxes per year. An amount that leaves the Richardson's weary.

"Where's our loss?" asked Richardson.

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