Republican Budget Plan Fails Oklahoma House

Tuesday, May 16th 2017, 10:38 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

A budget plan proposed by Oklahoma Republicans failed to pass the House of Representatives late Tuesday night. 

HB 2414 needed 76 votes to pass out of the House. It only received 51. 

Republicans had agreed on a plan to fill 400-million dollars of the state’s estimated 900-million dollar budget deficit.  But they needed Democrats to be on board, and democrats said they weren't. 

“We have been able to come to an agreement on three different revenue issues.” Governor Mary Fallin, flanked by leaders of the House and Senate, told the press.

Those three issues: A cigarette tax, a tax on gasoline, and a delay on gross production tax.

“[We are] compromising on GPT (Gross Production Tax) and we are compromising on the cigarette tax. We’re giving those to the Democrats as they’ve requested in exchange for the fuel tax,” said Speaker of the House, Charles McCall.

But the agreement isn’t an increase in the gross production tax, like the Democrats demanded, it simply decreases the amount of time that oil companies can enjoy tax breaks on new wells from 36 months to 18 months.  House Minority Leader Scott Inman says that’s a deal breaker.

“We will uniformly oppose it because we stand with the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Rep. Inman.

Rep. McCall said,  “The Democrats in our chamber have messaged that they will never be for this unless they get GPT.  GPT is in this deal.”

The Governor added,  “No more game playing.  No more I’ll do this, if you do that.”

Republicans say their plan will also fund $1,000 raises for teachers.  

Even though Republicans control the majority in the House and Senate, they need Democratic votes to pass any tax or fee increases and Democrats say they are not on board, almost ensuring a special session to hammer out a budget deal.