Corporate Tax Credits Impacting Oklahoma's Bottom Line

Wednesday, April 23rd 2014, 7:37 pm
By: Karl Torp

We've always heard Oklahoma's economy is thriving and the unemployment rate is low. But lawmakers are still facing a major budget shortfall and that could mean cuts to education, public safety and health care.

The promise of tax cuts to corporations is a major reason why.

"We don't know how much they are, who has them, or when they are going to cash them in," said Oklahoma State Auditor and Inspector, Gary Jones.

Jones' office issued a report showing the impact of the tax credits on the state's bottom line. In June of 2013, the estimated corporate tax revenue for the state was $481 million. In December of 2013, the number was $375 million. In February, the estimated corporate revenue fell to $307 million.

There isn't a deadline on many tax credits, so Jones says trying to write a budget based on them is a serious challenge.

"In the past, our history has been that we had one economist that was doing those revenue projections. I think we need more than one, maybe two, maybe three, so we can get a better more accurate picture," says Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin.

Jones says the state needs to take a closer look at these tax programs to see if they are worth keeping.

Not long ago the state had a tax credit moratorium, meaning nobody could cash in those credits. It's been lifted, so now the state is paying.