Monday, December 22, 2014

State Rep. John Bennett Concerned about School Funding

State Rep. John Bennett, Republican from Sallisaw, said last week he is concerned about school funding, after Preston Doerflinger, Oklahoma's Secretary of Finance, announced Dec. 17 that the state's income was sufficient to trigger a cut in personal income tax. Doerflinger said the estimate for general revenue fund collections for the next fiscal year is about $60 million more than the February 2013. That triggers a personal income tax rate decrease from 5.25 percent to 5 percent, beginning in January 2016. Doerflinger said that would save about $85 per year for the average tax payer, and would cost the state about $147 million annually. If revenues continue to increase, a second cut, to 4.85 percent, is possible in 2018.

Bennett said, "While I support the general policy of low taxes, I do have concerns about the state budget. We are going to have difficult budget choices to make in the years ahead. I plan to continue to advocate for our schools and other essential services to come first over other state interests."

Bennett said the state could still face budget problems. He said the recent drop in oil prices, as well as lower prices in agricultural commodity markets, could continue to put pressure on state revenues.

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