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Creek County GOP Forum Set

BY Michael Overall
by Michael Overall on 4/27/02.

Featuring a speaker from a national conservative lobbying group, the Creek County Republican Party will host a public forum Saturday to discuss proposals to revamp Oklahoma's tax system.

"The proposals have some positives and some negatives," said Erick Gustafson, director of federal and state affairs for Citizens for a Sound Economy. "We'll take a look at both sides."

Gustafson will appear along with Republican state Rep. Tom Hiett and Robert Dauffenbach, director of the Center for Economic and Management Research at the University of Oklahoma.

The discussion will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Central Tech campus in Sapulpa, 1720 S. Main St.

"Oklahoma seems to have a fairly low tax burden compared to other states," Gustafson said Friday. "That's one thing you want to be sure not to change."

Gov. Frank Keating is championing a major overhaul of the state's tax system, hoping to shift most of the tax burden away from income taxes to consumption taxes.

The current proposal, which the governor hopes to submit to statewide referendum later this year, includes a flat income tax rate of 4.5 percent -- while making up the lost revenue by taxing 31 categories of services that previously were not taxed.

Gustafson praised the idea of a flat tax but cautioned Oklahoma not to overcompensate with more sales taxes.

"What you don't want is for the net burden on Oklahoma to increase," he said. "The people of Oklahoma will not accept this if it turns out to be a tax increase disguised as tax reform."