Tax reform impacts future generations

by Sen. Jessica Garvin

From the Desk of Sen. Jessica Garvin

There's been a lot of debate about how to best provide tax relief for Oklahomans. One way the Senate is working to accomplish this is through the formation of the bipartisan Tax Reform Working Group that has been analyzing and thoroughly researching our state's complex tax system, including tax credits and other incentives, for the past nearly two years.

To some it might seem an easy thing to cut a certain tax, but we have to remember that those taxes provide revenue for our more than 60 state agencies and hundreds of services that our four million citizens depend on daily from our roads to our schools, hospitals, and much more. Everything in our state government is intricately woven together. When you change one area, it impacts another. This is why the Senate working group has not just studied a few specific tax reforms, but rather has examined all taxes and their revenue contributions, along with all the tax cuts and other incentives currently on the books and their financial impact on our state.

When considering tax reform, it's important that we don't just look at how a change will impact the state in the coming year but five, 10, 20 years down the road and further. The decisions we make today will affect future generations.

Part of being fiscally responsible is also looking at not only our state economy but the national economic trends and future forecasts. While our state economy is still strong, it's slowing down. Our national economy is unstable and, quite frankly, in turmoil right now thanks to the ongoing poor policies of the Biden administration. We could soon find ourselves in another war in the Middle East as tensions escalate.

The federal government also continues to ignore the dangerous threat at our southern border, which many are saying is the greatest terrorist threat we have even with Russia, China and others continually taunting us. Our nation's resources and moral fabric are being stretched thin and that will eventually trickle down and hurt our state's economy. We saw this between 2015 and 2017 when our state faced more than $2 billion in revenue shortfalls during that period.

All of this to say, tax reform is not a simple, cut and dry issue but extremely complicated. The Senate is being thorough and methodical in order to present the best possible tax solutions for Oklahomans. This past session, the committee authored the legislation that eliminated the corporate franchise tax and the marriage penalty tax. These pro-business, pro-family reforms will help make Oklahoma more competitive with other states, and that's the kind of policies I want to support.

I'm looking forward to hearing the working groups ideas as we prepare for the upcoming session. The Senate strongly supports providing tax relief for hardworking Oklahomans, families, and businesses. We just want to be sure we do it thoughtfully and responsibly, not because of political pressure or to get political points, but because it's the right and best thing to do for our great state and people.

I gladly welcome your thoughts and ideas on how you feel would be the best way to pursue tax reform and provide relief to Oklahomans. Please contact me at the Capitol. Please write to Senator Jessica Garvin, State Capitol, 2300 N. Lincoln Blvd. Room 237, Oklahoma City, OK, 73105, email me at or call (405) 521-5522.

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