Rep Eric Proctor published this response to today's Supreme Court Ruling, whereby the Tobacco Tax increase was struct down for violating constitutional requirements.
"Only if somebody would've said this was unconstitutional during the legislative session.....
It's time to restore the gross production tax. No more free passes for the most wealthy industry in the world at the expense of our children, teachers, senior citizens, healthcare and public safety. Oil and gas will still drill like crazy with a 7% tax."
I followed up with Proctor and he elaborated...
"I applaud the court for doing the right thing. My experience has shown me that if the legislature was a football team we would have 80 punters.
The House does not need to continue punting the ball in the special session. Rather, we must tackle difficult issues like reforming tax credits and restoring the gross production tax.
Hopefully, legislators in the majority party have realized that crafting a budget by solely raising taxes on middle income families is a nonstarter".
Democrats argue that surrounding states all charge a 7% gross production tax. But Texas does not charge a secondary income tax, as Oklahoma does. Texas relies more heavily on property taxes to fund state services.
State Auditor, Gary Jones, argues that a gross production tax is the equivalent of a property tax, but is only assessed one time (at the point that it is pumped out of the ground).
Jones says that other industries are charged a property tax every year on both their factories and their inventory. even when a factory shuts down, they still pay a property tax. When an oil producer shuts down because of low prices for crude oil, the producer pays no production tax and likely shows a corporate loss which can offset tax liabilities in other fiscal years.
We are awaiting the governor's action on the out-of-compliance budget. The state budget board already certified the 2018 budget, but state treasurer, Ken Miller, objected to that finding. Gary Jones and Todd Lamb (both are declared candidates for governor) voted to accept the legislature's budget.
Gary Jones has called for a restructure of all oil production to a 5% gross tax, rather than the two-tiered current tax which is currently 2% on the first three years, then elevates to 7% for the rest of the life of the well.
Minority leader (and candidate for governor) Scott Inman said...
"My caucus and I sounded every alarm bell we could to stop this from happening, yet here we are, just as we warned.
Today, I'm urging Governor Fallin to call for a special session and for Republican leaders to come together with Sen. Sparks and me to draft a truly bipartisan and constitutional budget plan that will help to restore, reinvest in, and rebuild Oklahoma.
With our state agencies facing more budget cuts and with even more rulings waiting, the time is now to work out a budget agreement before a special session of the legislature. By coming together now and putting a plan in place, we can save precious time and taxpayer dollars to fix the mess that their failed leadership has put us in."