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April 16, 2013

Senate focuses on Workman’s Comp, income tax reduction

DUNCAN —

The focus of the State Senate has shifted from Senate bills to bills coming from the State House of Representatives, igniting conversations about Workman’s Compensation and a reduction in income tax.
Sen. Corey Brooks (R-Washington) said a lot of work has gone into this year’s legislative session. And in it’s second of three rounds, things are still progressing in a positive way, he said.
“We’re plugging along,” Brooks said. “The veterans say it’s smoother from last year. Of course, I don’t have any reference point.”
The Senate will spending two weeks discussing House bills. Brooks said there has been a lot of discussion about Workman’s Comp and income tax reduction throughout the legislative session. But the casual discussions have turned into conversations that could heed an outcome for each.
Brooks said both topics are fairly in-depth, but he expects to at least get some sort of outcome for the Workman’s Comp bill, which he said is a definite need for Oklahoma.
“There’s a lot to both,” Brooks said. “Hopefully, at the end of the session, we’ll get though bills that are good for Oklahoma.”
He said there are two plans developed for the income tax topic, which Gov. May Fallin vocal about the need for reducing state income tax.
The first calls for a reform of the tax plan. He said this would take the income tax level from 5.25 percent to 4.75 percent during a two-years period. He said this would require cutting several tax credits that are archaic or rarely used.
“For 90 percent, it would be a tax break,” Brooks said.
The second tax plan would work to drop the tax rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, or even 4.95 percent. The Senate is working to put some of the tax money toward state programs like education.

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