Monday, May 29th 2023, 4:27 pm
After four months of policy work, the 59th legislature wrapped up the regular session. But with one of the governor’s main priorities missing from the budget, Governor Stitt could be calling lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer.
With education being a main priority for the 59th legislature, some lawmakers say tax cuts got lost in the conversation.
“Education, education, education was the focus for me this year,” said Senate Pro Tem Greg Treat.
“We did not realize the level of tax reform that we wanted to see this session- of course three and a half months was consumed by education,” said House Speaker Charles McCall.
At the beginning of the year, the governor called for the state’s personal income tax to be lowered by a quarter of a percent, and for the grocery tax to be completely eliminated. With billions between the state’s savings account and surplus, the governor said this is the perfect time to give back to the taxpayer.
After neither of the governor’s requests made it into the final budget, Stitt is thinking about bringing lawmakers back to the Capitol this summer.
“I'm considering calling people back for another special session to get a tax cut done,” said Gov. Stitt.
Lawmakers have mixed feelings about a special session on tax cuts.
“It would not surprise me if we had a special session on that again this summer,” said Speaker McCall.
“He did it last year, it didn't work out for him- so I don't anticipate him doing that again,” said Pro Tem Treat.
Lawmakers were at the Capitol for a week last summer for a special session for tax cuts. The governor called for the same thing he has been pushing lawmakers to do this session, to lower the personal income tax and eliminate the grocery tax.
Senate democrats say the legislature did cut taxes this year, so it's unnecessary to come back to do more cuts.
“We've already cut taxes over $200 million this year, so coming back to talk about more tax cuts this year, we've already done it,” said Sen. Julia Kirt (D-OKC).
While lawmakers didn’t cut the grocery or personal income tax, they did pass a handful of smaller tax cuts, including lowering the franchise tax, and eliminating the marriage penalty within the tax code.
Pro Tem Treat said it just wasn’t in the budget to do the larger tax cuts.
“We tried to look at balancing recurring revenue and those tax cuts that we could afford through the franchise and the marriage tax- we were ready to accept,” said Treat.
On the other hand, Speaker McCall continues pushing for the big tax cuts, now that they’ve passed historic education legislation.
“Even if we spend the whole time next year during the regular session on tax cuts, we're going to get that done,” said McCall.
At this point, it’s not clear if the governor will be calling lawmakers back in for a special session, or when exactly that would be.
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