The Legislative Digest is your weekly look at the happenings of Oklahoma’s state legislature, upcoming bills and the terms to know.

Legislative Digest

HB 2083:
This bill would reduce the corporate income tax on Oklahoma businesses yearly until the complete elimination of the corporate tax in 2026. This would make Oklahoma join six other states that currently levy no corporate income tax.

Corporate taxes typically bring in over $300 million a year in Oklahoma. This tax revenue represents over two percent of the total revenue brought in for the state. It might not seem like a huge part, but its elimination would necessitate a similar cut in spending. This cut would likely come from education or social services, which have already seen declines in recent years.

Even if one were convinced that taxes must be lowered, there is no reason to place these cuts solely on the corporate income tax. This tax targets those who own businesses, and are thus typically among the wealthier in society. Something like the sales tax, however, which takes a larger percentage of poorer peoples’ incomes, isn’t proposed as the target for cuts.

The bill has already passed through the house on a 74-20 vote with all Democrats voting against and only one Republican not voting in favor. Hopefully it encounters more resistance in the Senate.

Similar to SB 627, this bill used to be a benign proposal, but was modified to reflect an entirely new agenda. The bill would ban “students of the male sex” from participating in sports teams specifically designated for women.

Obviously, the bill is aimed at preventing transgender women from participating in sports. The question is, then, why? What harm do trans women bring to sports teams? This bill calls itself the “Save Womens’ Sports Act,” as if trans women were somehow destroying womens’ sports currently. Trans women are currently allowed to participate in sports in Oklahoma, and I don’t see any examples of them threatening sports’ sanctity. In other states where similar laws are proposed, lawmakers have never been able to provide an instance in which trans athletes in their states have threatened girls’ sports.

There has never been an instance of someone cynically undergoing a gender transition just to compete on another team. What is actually common is trans people joining a sport for the enjoyment and community they provide. Banning them from these sports is not only stigmatizing, it deprives them of a social community of peers that others have access to.

What lurks right behind this bill is transphobia. The authors and supporters of the bill are disgusted with trans people and are desperate to delegitimize them, and this bill simply serves that purpose. Student athletes themselves are not asking for these proposals; 500 NCAA athletes recently signed a letter in opposition to banning trans women from collegiate sports. There is no uproar among scientists about a “biological advantage,” as the supposed advantage is minimal and typically completely eliminated by hormonal transition. The push comes from culture-war reactionaries, not people with an actual stake in the issue.

This same policy was recently enacted in Mississippi and Arkansas and has been proposed in many other states. These bills are also in addition to many other transphobic laws being pushed for, including the recent banning of trans medical care for minors in Arkansas. Hopefully this bill and others like it will fail.

Post Author: Justin Klopfer