By Warren Vieth and Nate Robson
A proposed penny sales tax increase for education would push Oklahoma to the top of list of states with the highest combined state and local sales taxes, according to data from a national research group.
It also would elevate Tulsa and Oklahoma City to No. 3 and No. 4, respectively, among major cities with the highest combined sales taxes, trailing only Chicago and Seattle, the Tax Foundation said.
Oklahoma Tax Commission data compiled by Oklahoma Watch show that many cities and towns already have comparatively high sales tax burdens, with several dozen of them levying a dime or more at the checkout stand and five already ringing up 11 cents on the dollar (Clinton, Hallett, Kiowa, Red Rock and Savanna).
That might not be a problem, said Tax Foundation Policy Analyst Jared Walczak.
“It’s not necessarily bad to have a higher-than-average sales tax if you’re using that to have lower taxes in other areas,” Walczak said. “To some degree, that’s what Oklahoma does.”
Walczak said Oklahoma has much lower-than-average property taxes, and its individual and corporate income tax rates are close to the national average, in terms of their contribution to the cost of state, county and local government.
The Tax Foundation is a nonpartisan, nonprofit research organization based in Washington, D.C.