OKLAHOMA CITY – Statement from Sen. Ron Sharp on final passage Tuesday of SB 1062, creating the Administrative Workers’ Compensation Act, and the Senate’s approval last week of House Bill 2032 reducing the state income tax. The Senate approved the Workers’ Comp bill Tuesday and it will now go to the Governor’s office. However, the Senate amended the income tax cut bill so the House has to vote on it again before it can move on to Gov. Fallin’s desk.
“The workers’ compensation reform bill (SB 1062) and the state income tax cut (HB 2032) were a packaged deal. We couldn’t get one without supporting the other. The House was pushing House Bill 2032 and the Senate was pushing for SB 1062. The House promised Senate leaders that they’d approve the workers’ comp bill if the Senate approved the income tax cut, and so a compromise was reached.
“Also at issue, while considering these bills, was funding for the much-needed state Capitol repairs and funding for common education. It’s been estimated that it will cost at least $200 million to fix the century-old Capitol. I would have preferred a bond issue to fix the state Capitol but the House opposed the idea. The income tax is going to give $213 million back to Oklahoma’s hardworking taxpayers each year. Therefore, that money will no longer be available to fund state services. So in order to fix the Capitol and properly fund common education, the income tax cut won’t go into effect until January 1, 2015 at which time it’ll be cut to 5.0 percent. It will then lower to 4.85 percent on January 1, 2016 if the state’s economy continues to grow.
“Overall, these are both great bills that will make a tremendous impact on Oklahoma’s economy. Citizens will have more money to spend in their local communities when the income tax is lowered and injured workers will get the medical assistance they need and back to work quickly once the new administrative workers’ comp plan is in place.”