Raising taxes is the wrong way to solve Oklahoma’s budget shortfall, according to state businessmen.
A proposal to put a one cent statewide increase on sales tax will be on the ballot in November. And legislators are looking at a number of what they call “revenue enhancements” that will increase the tax burden, including taxes on services like
Jerrod Shouse, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said, “Oklahoma doesn’t need and can’t afford to pay higher taxes. Oklahoma needs a legislature that knows how to live within its means and stick to a budget.
“That’s what small-business owners and Oklahoma families do every day. If you want to spend more money on one thing, you have to spend less money on something else.
“The fact of the matter is that extending the sales tax to include specific services would have a crippling effect on the state’s economy in general and small businesses in particular.
“The lawyers who helped draft this proposal made a point of excluding legal services from the proposed service tax, and accounting services would be excluded, too, but they would tax utilities, and they would tax auto repair, IT, dry cleaning, pest control, pet grooming and a host of other industries.
“Not only would it create additional paperwork and costs, but it would raise the cost of living and doing business in Oklahoma.
“If you start taxing these services, you’re going to make it even harder for a lot of small businesses to succeed.
“The bottom line is that a lot of small businesses would see more of their revenue go to the government in the form of taxes. Call it what you want, but as far as small businesses are concerned, HB 3213 is would amount to a big tax increase.”