My first bill cleared a major hurdle in passing the House of Representatives, and I could not be prouder of the measure itself. I believe deeply in letting Oklahomans know about the implications of tax changes, and this bill does just that.
House Bill 2209 is a tax transparency bill that directs the Oklahoma Tax Commission to produce a tax incidence report for any proposed legislation attempting to increase, decrease or redistribute taxes by more than $20 million.
The goal of the tax incidence report is to inform the citizens of Oklahoma how a tax change will affect them annually in real dollars according to their income brackets. It will also inform them of the overall change to the state budget. Citizens will be able to conduct their own cost/benefit analysis of tax changing measures.
I talk to people daily who believe tax changes are not transparent. They do not know how much a cut or an increase will affect their household budgets, and they don't know how a cut or increase will affect the state's budget.
Often, tax changes are complicated by actors seeking to influence public opinion. There can be a lot of hype, and people can tap into emotion to elicit a response. But the type of tax incidence report prescribed by HB 2209 offers hard facts and informs the people in a concrete and transparent way. A report like this will allow Oklahomans to cut through the rhetoric, hysteria and misinformation that follows a tax changing proposal.
It is my hope the people will take in this information provided in this report and use it to inform their legislators how they want them to vote on tax change measures.
I am thrilled by the support HB 2209 received from both sides of the aisle in the House. It was a unanimous vote of 84- 0, which clearly shows that the members recognize the bill is not only common-sense and transparent policy, but it’s also good for Oklahomans. The members of the House voted for greater government transparency when they voted for this bill.
The bill now heads over to the Senate, where state Sen. AJ Griffin from Guthrie will take over as the Senate author, or sponsor, of the bill. HB 2209 will then be assigned to a Senate committee, and a small group of senators will weigh the merits of the legislation. Once it receives a “do pass” vote from the assigned committee, the legislation will receive a hearing in front of the entire Senate chamber. I’m hopeful senators will see the same value in the bill that our state representatives did. If they vote to pass the bill, it will then go to Gov. Mary Fallin’s desk for her signature. Once she signs the bill, it will become Oklahoma law.
As always, this office belongs to everyone in House District 50. Don’t hesitate to get in touch by calling (405) 557-7327 or emailing me at Marcus.McEntire@okhouse.gov to share your thoughts or concerns about policy issues. Thank you, and God bless.