Why is my paycheck smaller this year?

Payday is here and it’s time to pay those bills, buy some groceries and hopefully have some money left over for something fun.

But your first check of 2013 is smaller than usual. Why is that?

Because things at the federal level have changed.

OPEA has been fielding queries as to why people’s paychecks are smaller in January than they were in 2012. Many are frustrated and angry. We understand and sympathize. Others still are blaming the state of Oklahoma for this decrease. That’s simply not true. You see, the reason paychecks are lower is because the federal tax system has changed. Because of the expiration of the Social Security withholding rate from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent, most Oklahomans now see 2 percent less money in their checks than they did in 2012.

So what does this mean for you, the state employee? It means you’ll be taking another ding in the pocketbook. According to a handy calculator from the Wall Street Journal, a worker making $40,000 a year will see another $800 vanishing into tax coffers over the course of 2013. Click this link to test out the calculator yourself and find out how big of a hit you or your family will be taking this year.

Changes like this on the federal level we can do nothing about. But we can do something on the state level to grow that paycheck in the right direction. This session OPEA will be working toward performance pay increases for all state employees to ensure your job salaries are more in line with those earned in the private sector.

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