Patrick Gleason, Contributor
By seeking to raise taxes and expand Medicaid, Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R) and Sooner State lawmakers are pushing to make their state an outlier in a region full of states reducing their tax burdens, rejecting Obamacare, and exercising spending restraint. Gov. Fallin began the 2016 legislative session by violating the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, a written commitment she made to Oklahoma taxpayers to “oppose and veto any and all efforts to raise taxes,” by calling for hundreds of millions of dollars in new taxes to address a $1.3 billion budget shortfall caused by low oil prices and years of overspending.
Another proposal to raise taxes being debated in Oklahoma is an expansion of the sales tax base to include more products and services. Generally, this can be the basis for good tax reform at the state level when paired with broad base rate cuts. However, that is not what is being proposed here. Oklahoma already imposes the sixth highest average state and local sales tax in the nation at 8.77 percent.
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