Oklahoma House Advances $8.3 Billion Budget


Tuesday, May 18th 2021, 6:09 pm
By: Storme Jones


OKLAHOMA CITY -

The more than $8 billion state budget is one step away from the governor's desk after clearing the State House Monday. 

House Democrats argued the money lawmakers chose not to spend, around $800 million in savings, could have been put to good use. 

“When folks are paying their taxes to the State of Oklahoma, I don’t think that they are asking us to stow it away in a savings account,” Minority Leader Emily Virgin, D-Norman, said. ‘They want us to take care of the needs of Oklahomans.” 

Virgin said things like ending the state sales tax on groceries, changing district attorney funding and giving state workers a pay raise would have gone a long way. 

“This is the most comprehensive budget I have seen in my tenure,” said House Appropriations and Budget Chair Kevin Wallace, R-Wellston said. “It funds core services [across] the spectrum, and it gives parents, teachers and students everything they need for success in education.” 

The budget boosts education funding, adding money for textbooks and activity budgets. 

Also clearing the House along party lines, a reinstatement of the earned income tax credit for low earners and a personal income tax cut estimated to save the average Oklahoman $150 per year. 

“No one is saying to me ‘please cut my income taxes,’ especially those of the top,” Virgin said. “They’re not talking about cutting income taxes. They’re talking about what we need to fix as a state.” 

The House also passed a cut to the corporate income tax rate from 6 to 4%. Supporters said that will give Oklahoma the eighth lowest rate in the country. 

The budget now heads to the State Senate.