Governor Stitt announced to everyone on the Fox Business Network that he plans to ask state lawmakers to eliminate the state income tax altogether. He says he is open to a gradual step down or outright elimination.
As a successful businessman, the Governor clearly understands that money flows to where it is treated most kindly. Although Oklahoma has made important progress during the Stitt years, we still fall short of the economic and population growth of no-income tax states like Texas, Tennessee and even the state of Washington.
Over the last 10 years, the population of Oklahoma grew 5.5% and the economy grew 15.5%. Meanwhile, the Texas population grew by 16% and its economy grew 36%! Tennessee’s population grew by 9% and its economy grew by 25%. Even the more liberal-leaning state of Washington, thanks to good tax policy, had 14.6% population growth and 48% economic growth.
Wow! Let’s do what those states are doing! This means we need to answer the governor’s call, roll up our sleeves and get to work on making Oklahoma a no-income tax state. Our friend, State Senator Dave Rader, has been working on a plan to make it happen and still properly fund core services. We hope the Legislature follows his lead.
Make no mistake, it’s not an easy assignment. Nearly all states get some revenue from property taxes. Oklahoma gets none, and we want it to stay that way. Therefore, we can't also eliminate sales taxes on items like groceries, and like Texas, we must charge sales taxes on more service items. If we want to be a top ten state in population and economic growth over the next ten years and increase the level of prosperity for our kids and grandkids, it will be well worth the work and changes.