On Tuesday, the governor issued a call for a special session on Jan. 29, asking lawmakers to pass a .25-percent cut to the state’s personal income tax.
Statement from the Oklahoma Policy Institute:
Instead of grandstanding with yet another special session call, the governor could ask lawmakers to deliver targeted relief to everyday Oklahomans who need it most, rather than across-the-board tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the wealthy.
The governor’s latest call for a special session — to occur just one week before the regular session starts — is merely political theater that seeks to circumvent the regular legislative process and waste taxpayer dollars to the tune of an estimated $60,000 per day.
The legislature meets in regular session from Feb. 5 through May 31, which is ample time for lawmakers to introduce and publicly debate substantive issues, including taxes and the state budget. Calling for a special session, especially this close to the regular session, is simply political grandstanding.
Regardless of when lawmakers may consider the issue, further reducing state revenue through across-the-board tax cuts is bad policy. Such tax cuts overwhelmingly favor the richest Oklahomans while giving little benefit to low- and middle-income Oklahomans. Lawmakers are better served focusing on tax relief through targeted credits, or even a one-time rebate that wouldn’t jeopardize the state’s long-term fiscal health.
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This is Oklahoma’s third legislative special session since May 2023. The first was called by lawmakers because they needed more time to introduce and approve the annual budget because the private school voucher bill stalled legislative work for weeks during a crucial part of session. The governor called the second special session for October 2023, which resulted in no legislative action but a substantive budget conversation in the Senate.
Related OK Policy articles and research on budget and tax issues:
- New national study shows Oklahoma’s tax system worsens inequality, among the nation’s most unfair
- Everyday Oklahomans will be hurt by sweeping revenue cuts
- Flat tax, tax triggers would make Oklahoma’s tax system less fair, less adequate, and less stable
- Current Tax Cut Proposals Don’t Help Most Oklahomans, May 2023 [Printable PDF]
- A Better Path Forward: A Budget and Tax Roadmap for Oklahoma