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To the editors:
The Oklahoma Legislature repeatedly refused to cancel an income tax cut lowering the top rate from 5.25 percent to 5 percent after they knew the state was facing a revenue failure and historic budget shortfalls believed to be $900 million in January 2016. Later, we learned the shortfall was even greater — at least $1.3 billion. Yet, the wealthiest Oklahomans kept their latest income tax cut, which increases the budget shortfall by $147 million every year.
Instead, the Legislature cut the earned-income tax credit (EITC) that used to keep low-wage, working families, earning an average of $20,000 per year, from paying a disproportionate share of their income in taxes. The EITC cut will only save the state $28.9 million.
When faced with a choice between saving $147 million or $28.9 million, our elected leaders chose wealthy campaign donors over struggling lower-income and middle class families who can’t afford a fleet of lobbyists and lawyers to represent them at the Capitol.
One can only hope that voters will demand justice at the ballot box in November.