The dramatic vote was held and the roll left open well over 2 hours. During that time the Republican Governor, herself, was brought into the House chamber where she personally begged and enticed Democrats to raise taxes... and they refused.
Fortunately, the Oklahoma Constitution requires a 3/4 majority for the legislature to raise taxes. But in the end it wasn't close. The 101 member chamber teetered at around 50-50 until the final seconds. That's when Representatives, seeing the failure, switched their vote to 'No', so they could not be found out as being on the side of raising tobacco taxes by $1.50 per pack.
This threw the process into a tailspin. The next issue was then revealed to be a 'shell bill', where the authors would write a massive expansion of the state sales tax, to include most, if not all services.
Tradesmen and their organizations across the state then mobilized. Plumbers, family doctors, Tow Truck drivers, painters, all argued that their hour of work billed to the customer is already subject to income tax. To double the tax on their services (income tax & sales tax) would make their essential services just that much more inaccessible to many of their customers.
The anti-tax forces greatly bolstered the confidence of Tea Party Legislators and their ranks began to grow.
This afternoon, the House went home for the weekend. The leadership was satisfied that they had attained all the new revenues they were going to get. The budget is being crafted and will reflect roughly a 3% drop, over all. But Healthcare and other priorities will be spared any cuts, according to Speaker Hickman and Rep Earl Sears.
Read More at: Middleground News
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...