- State income tax reduction
Each legislator said he is in favor of reducing the income tax, as long as it’s done within reason.
Barrington said the state has to be wary how much is being reduced because many state services are paid with funds from income taxes.
“People expect a lot of services,” Barrington said. “We have to be cautious. I’m not opposed to lowering taxes. There’s just a lot of things that depend on that funding.
“I wish we could zero out our taxes like Texas, but I don’t want to increase ad valorem taxes like Texas. We need to be cautious when cutting taxes.”
Brooks referred to the tax reduction as a “balancing act,” ensuring people keep as much of the money they earned as possible but making sure services are still funded.
“We need to be conscientious of how we consider tax cuts,” Brooks said. “I don’t think anyone will know what it will look like.”
- Horizontal drilling
To provide incentives for horizontal drilling in Oklahoma, taxes for horizontal drilling were reduced to 1 percent from 7 percent. But that time is almost up, which could push the taxes back 7 percent.
Johnson said he thinks the incentive will end somewhere between 1 and 7 percent, but isn’t sure where to expect it to stop, not wanting to discourage horizontal drilling
“Ninety-five percent of our wells are horizontal,” Johnson said. “I guess that means it’s working.”
Brooks said the legislature will have to focus on what’s fair.
- Native American Cultural Center
None of the current legislators were in office when the Native American Cultural Center was approved nearly 15 years ago, but each has dealt with the project, which has reached a standstill.
Brooks said he would like to get the project finished, instead of having the state pay for upkeep to a facility that is incomplete.
“There’s millions spent in upkeep and security,” Brooks said.
He said the state could regain some of those funds if the building is completed because businesses may move in next door, bringing more funds into the state.
Barrington said he opposed a bill to complete the project because he doesn’t believe the project will offset the loss the state has taken.