Statement: Court ruling confirms that Oklahoma lawmakers have good options to fix budget in special session
Oklahoma Policy Institute released the following statement on today’s Oklahoma Supreme Court ruling upholding a law that partially ends the state sales tax exemption for auto sales:
The court’s ruling confirms that lawmakers have numerous options to fill the budget hole in special session and prevent devastating cuts. Now that the court has established the scope of the problem, lawmakers must return to special session as soon as possible with the political will to come together and pass solutions.
Lawmakers should continue to seek a three-fourths supermajority to restore a cigarette tax, reverse recent income tax cuts for very high incomes, and restore the gross production tax. In addition, this ruling means that they can use special session to repeal tax exemptions with a simple majority. Lawmakers should take a serious look at ending tax breaks that do nothing for average Oklahomans, like the more than $100 million tax break for capital gains of wealthy stockholders and commercial real estate owners. Lawmakers have good options to not only prevent life-threatening cuts to health care, but also to finally meet widely agreed-on needs like a pay raise for teachers and other public workers.
If lawmakers wait until regular session to address the budget hole, it will already be too late to approve new revenues and protect core services this year. They will have failed in one of the most basic responsibilities that we elected them to do. Unfortunately, it’s regular Oklahomans who would pay the price.
What You Can Do
- Contact Governor Mary Fallin and urge her to promptly call a Special Session to fix the budget. Call the Governor at (405) 521-2342; or tweet her a message: @GovMaryFallin
- Contact House Speaker Charles McCall and Senate President Pro Tem Mike Schulz to insist that they support a Special Session to find the revenues needed to fund state services. Speaker Charles McCall – (405) 557-7412, email@example.com; President Pro Tem Mike Schulz – (405) 521-5612, firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Contact your own Representative and Senator. Click here to find your legislators.