© 2024 Public Radio Tulsa
800 South Tucker Drive
Tulsa, OK 74104
(918) 631-2577

A listener-supported service of The University of Tulsa
classical 88.7 | public radio 89.5
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations
Listen to President Biden's address to the nation tonight at 7:00pm, LIVE on KWGS 89.5 FM

State labor commissioner opposes governor's tax cut proposal

Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn speaks to reporter Clifton Adcock on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, at a town hall at the University of Oklahoma's Tulsa campus.
Max Bryan
/
KWGS News
Oklahoma Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn speaks to reporter Clifton Adcock on Tuesday, Jan. 30, 2024, at a town hall at the University of Oklahoma's Tulsa campus.

Oklahoma’s Republican labor commissioner is speaking out against Gov. Kevin Stitt’s proposed income tax cut.

The state's House of Representatives is currently in special session to consider a 0.25% income tax cut for state residents, which would cost about $250 million if implemented but mostly benefit the wealthiest Oklahomans.

Stitt has referenced a state surplus of roughly $1.2 billion as reason for the cut.

During a town hall with Democratic state Rep. Suzanne Schreiber on Tuesday night in Tulsa, Labor Commissioner Leslie Osborn said Oklahoma is already a minimally-taxed state. According to WalletHub, Oklahoma was one of the ten least tax-burdened states in the U.S. last year.

"It might be time to consider, when we have some surplus, instead of cutting, investing in the things that change the trajectory for our state," Osborn said.

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy estimates the poorest Oklahomans would only save about $19 with the proposed tax cut — a figure referenced by Osborn and Schreiber at the town hall.

Osborn — who was the state legislature’s house budget chair during a shortfall —said one bad year in Oklahoma would significantly impact the surplus. She also said federal American Rescue Plan Act money should be used before considering tax cuts.

"To make a decision where we’re still spending those surplus federal dollars – it's a little scary when it’s so hard to raise taxes in this state," she said.

Osborn's stance further reveals division over income tax cuts among members of Oklahoma's Republican Party. Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat gaveled his chamber out of session on Monday because he was opposed to a special session being used to pass the tax cut. House Speaker Charles McCall has supported Stitt's push for the cut.

Treat told reporters he's open to further negotiations with Stitt and McCall on the subject.

Max Bryan is a news anchor and reporter for KWGS. A Tulsa native, Bryan worked at newspapers throughout Arkansas and in Norman before coming home to "the most underrated city in America." Several of Bryan's news stories have either led to or been cited in changes both in the public and private sectors.