DALLAS — The Oklahoma Supreme Court Dec. 17 overturned state legislation that cut the state's personal income tax and provided $120 million for repairs to the Capitol.
In a unanimous decision, the court ruled the bill violated the state constitution's ban on "logrolling," or including multiple subjects in a single bill.
Cutting the state's top personal income tax rate and funding repairs to the building were Gov. Mary Fallin's top priorities in the last legislative session.
Oklahoma Supreme Court Justice James Winchester wrote that taxation and appropriations for Capitol improvements are not germane to a "readily apparent theme or purpose."
Under the legislation approved last spring, Oklahoma's top state income tax rate would have dropped to 5% in 2015 from the current 5.25%. The top rate would have dropped to 4.85% at the beginning of 2016 if revenue targets were met.
In the same bill, lawmakers approved using available cash from delaying the tax cuts for $120 million of repairs to the Capitol building instead of using bonds. Repairs were to be funded by allocating $60 million to the project in fiscal 2014 and another $60 million in fiscal 2015.
Oklahoma Policy Institute Executive Director David Blatt praised the court's decision in a statement Tuesday.
"In recent months, it has become more clear that another tax cut is the wrong priority when state revenues are not meeting projections, the state share of health costs is growing, prisons remain critically understaffed, and education funding remains stuck far below 2008 levels," Blatt said.