August 16th, 2017
The Supreme Court’s ruling that struck down a $1.50 per-package smoking cessation fee passed by lawmakers in May has created a genuine state emergency. If the Legislature does find new revenues in special session to replace those rejected by the Court, the consequence will be unimaginable cuts to health care and other protections for our state’s most vulnerable citizens — with the greatest harm to children, seniors, and people with severe disabilities and mental illness. The special session will begin September 25, but lawmakers need to hear from you now, because plans for what they will do are already being negotiated.
- Even before the court threw out the cigarette fee, Oklahoma’s state budget severely underfunded core services. That budget was worsening the teacher shortage, forcing the closure of senior nutrition sites, cutting support for foster families, and not even beginning to undo the damage to our communities caused by years of cuts.
- Lawmakers now have a second chance to get it right and fix the budget by passing widely-supported revenue options. Lawmakers should spread the cost of increased taxation fairly and not insist on only one option. Good options include an end to unnecessary tax breaks for big oil and gas, a modernized gas tax, an increased top rate on very high incomes, itemized deduction reform, a roll-back of wasteful tax breaks like the capital gains exemption, and an increased cigarette tax.
- With Oklahoma already facing a more than $400 million budget hole next year, lawmakers must focus on recurring revenues in special session. They must stop relying on one-time revenues and budget gimmicks that increase the structural deficit.
What You Can Do
- Contact your own Representative and Senator. Use the form below to find your legislators.
- Contact Governor Mary Fallin, House Speaker Charles McCall, and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz to insist that they use Special Session to find the revenues needed to fund state services.
- Governor Mary Fallin (405) 521-2342 E-mail contact form
- Speaker Charles McCall (405) 557-7412 firstname.lastname@example.org
- President Pro Tem Mike Schulz (405) 521-5612 email@example.com
Resources and Information
- Interactive: How Would You Fix the Budget in Special Session?
- Together Oklahoma Advocacy Tipsheets
- Blog Post: Lawmakers have good revenue options for special session if they have the will to use them
- Op-ed: Oklahoma has a second chance to get its budget right
- Editorial: 67 percent support for GPT hike means #okleg should listen
- Save Our State Coalition’s Blueprint for a Better Budget
- SOS Coalition Statement: Lawmakers must go back to special session and finish job of funding core services
- Blog Post: With the doomsday clock ticking, how might the state’s budget emergency be resolved?
- Blog Post: If lawmakers wait until regular session to fix the budget, it will already be too late
- Blog Post: Proposed budget leaves Oklahoma services massively underfunded
- The Supreme Court’s decision striking down the smoking cessation fee
- Gov. Fallin: Special Legislative Session Necessary to Adjust State Appropriations (Press Release, Aug 16)
- Gov. Fallin: Statement on Supreme Court striking down smoking cessation fee (Press release, Aug. 10)
- FY 2018 Budget Highlights (OK Policy Fact Sheet)
- OK Policy’s Revenue Options for a Better Budget (Feb. 2017)
- OK Policy’s Advocacy Toolkit