The 2024 legislative session was the time for tax cuts in Oklahoma. After two years of big and small tax reform proposals failing to get through the state senate, a robust surplus removed any excuses for inaction.

Despite that surplus, income tax cuts did not happen. Now, some of the Senators who failed to advance an income tax cut have lost their primary elections.

The lack of an income tax cut was no fault of the House, which set the table by passing a tremendous bill that would have created a flat tax and used revenue triggers to gradually reduce the income tax. Gov. Stitt said he would “sign any tax cut” that made it do his desk, and has endorsed eliminating the income tax.

The Senate however, continued to stymie any income tax cut, whether elimination or just a 0.25% rate cut.

Along with other core issues, like school choice, income tax reform was a big factor as Oklahomans weighed in during June primary elections – and voters sent a strong message of support for income tax reform.

Most significantly, voters sent a message of discontent with Senate leadership by ousting Senate Floor Leader Greg McCortney, who was designated to be the next Senate President Pro Temp. As floor leader, McCortney had the key role in preventing income tax cuts from being voted on in the senate.

On the flipside, key Senate income tax reform champions fended off challenges. Sen. Julie Daniels and Sen. Micheal Bergstrom (who has also signed the Taxpayer Protection Pledge) sponsored gold standard income tax reform bills this session but still faced primary elections. In a win for Oklahoma taxpayers, both prevailed.

Sen. Shane Jett, a staunch supporter of school choice, as well as a signer of a pledge to cut income taxes and the Taxpayer Protection Pledge, fended off a challenge. Rep. Chris Kannady, a Taxpayer Protection Pledge signer, won as well. No pledge-signer was defeated.

Oklahoma faced a similar situation on school choice, as anti-school choice legislators had kept efforts to enact universal school choice at bay until primary voters made it clear that position was not acceptable to them. Now, Oklahoma voters have spoken in favor of income tax cuts.

With Arkansas and Kansas having just passed major income tax cuts this month, Oklahoma Republicans will have a new mandate from their voters to keep up and get tax reform passed next session.