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Stitt Wants To Get Corporate Tax Elimination 'Across The Finish Line,' Senate Leader Still Opposed

Oklahoma Watch

A week after the leader of the Oklahoma Senate said his chamber and the Republican caucus would not be involved in a plan to eliminate the state’s corporate income tax, Gov. Kevin Stitt told a virtual round table he still wants it done this session.

Speaking to the Oklahoma Small Business Association on Friday, Stitt referred to a report by pro-business think tank the Tax Foundation that ranks Oklahoma 30th in business tax climate.

"So, what they do is they rank corporate tax, individual income tax, sales tax, unemployment insurance tax, property tax. We’re 30th. Again, we should be top 10 in that," Stitt said.

"So, we are working on an individual tax reduction, we’re trying to get corporate tax across the finish line," Stitt said.

House Bill 2083 would phase out the corporate income tax over five years through increasing deductions.

When it comes to just the corporate income tax, the Tax Foundation ranks Oklahoma 11th. Senate President Pro Tem Greg Treat spoke after Stitt during the same event and reiterated he is not pursuing a phasing out of the tax this session.

"I’m a conservative Republican who wants to limit the size of government, but I want to have a holistic conversation on tax and taxation. And I think if we do one-offs on corporate, it’s not prudent at this time," Treat said.

Treat said there’s too much uncertainty with the state economy and budget in the immediate future to get rid of the corporate income tax, a move that would cost more than $600 million over five years. The budget looks better than it should because lawmakers cut more than they needed to last year, and about 25% of revenue from the corporate income tax each year comes off the top for the teacher retirement system and other obligations.

"Always going to be open to tax reform. The corporate tax that you referred to and that I’ve referred to in the past is simply off the table as far as the rest of this session is concerned," Treat said.

Matt Trotter joined KWGS as a reporter in 2013. Before coming to Public Radio Tulsa, he was the investigative producer at KJRH. His freelance work has appeared in the Los Angeles Times and on MSNBC and CNN.
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