Gene, 9/ 4/2011 - 2:29pm "That SoonerPoll is a prime example of the problem Arnold points to. It was a push poll phrased in a way to obscure the real results of eliminating the income tax and force the result that it got.
The option of eliminating income tax without replacing it was framed as: "Other people say this can be done without raising other taxes. They say that normal growth revenue, coupled with reductions in state spending, will enable us to phase out the income tax over a 7-year-period."
That's misleading because most ordinary voters are not state budget experts and can't be expected to understand the magnitude of cuts this would require [$2.5 billion, or about a third of all state revenue: http://okpolicy.org/blog/taxes/why-oklahoma-needs-an-income-tax/].
Not to mention that the "normal growth revenue" replaces nothing, because it represents primarily population growth that brings as many increasing costs as it does higher revenue.
Another misdirection is that the poll provides only the option of cutting income tax from the top down rather than, say, cutting sales tax and replacing it with higher income taxes, or stretching out the income tax brackets so as to provide tax relief weighted towards moderate income Oklahomans who need it most. As Arnold says, the income tax is "the fairest tax of all" because it is the only one based on people's ability to pay. But the proposals coming out of OCPA are entirely top-down -- helping the already wealthy first and sending down a few scraps to get enough others to go along with it. We can see the results of that mentality in Texas, where the poorest 20 percent of Texans pay the 5th highest taxes in the nation."
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