Rep. John Bennett delivered another of his classic fiery speeches last night on the House floor. the occasion was historic as the legislature voted for the Democrat's dream tax package by a tally of 79-19.
Bennett decried the complete failure to conduct performance audits of the largest agencies. He points out that the tight fiscal crunch of last year exposed an illegal shell game in the Dept. of Health. He is suspicious that the similar practice is likely to be common in several other agencies. But; he adds; we may never know?
By Bennett's reasoning, pouring cash infusions into these un-audited agencies will allow them to hide their corruption. With the Health dept. it went on for years.
We hope to publish the Bennett floor speech when it is released.
The New Taxes...
Bennett's office released this breakdown of the new taxes. This is only the first of many expected new taxes.
Section by Section Summary of HB 1010XX
Higher Tobacco Tax
Sections 2 of the measure levy and provide administration directive for an additional 50 mill/cigarette tax on cigarettes.
- FY-19 $152,074,000
- FY-19 Appropriations $144,470,300
Sections 3-5 and 17 of the measure convert the taxation of little cigars to mirror the taxation of cigarettes. Previously little cigars were subject to specific little cigar tax levies. The Tax Commission revenue estimate for the conversion provided in this measure is as follows:
- FY-19 $954,000
- FY-19 Appropriations $906,300
Section 6 of the measure levies an additional 10% tax upon the factory list prices of chewing tobacco, smokeless tobacco, and snuff. Revenue from the levy will be apportioned to the General Revenue Fund through FY-19, beginning FY-20 and thereafter such revenue will be apportioned to the State Health Care Enhancement Fund (created in HB 1016XX), which the Legislature shall appropriate for the purpose of enhancing the health of Oklahomans. The Tax Commission revenue estimate for the tobacco products tax provided in this measure is as follows:
- FY-19 $10,266,667
- FY-19 Appropriations $9,753,333
Higher Fuel Tax
Sections 7 of the measure levy an additional 3 cent per gallon tax on gasoline and a6 cent per gallon tax on diesel fuel. Revenue from the levy will be apportioned to the General Revenue Fund through FY-19, beginning FY-20 and thereafter such revenue will be apportioned to the Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund. HB 1015XX provides that the existing Motor Fuels Tax exemptions will also apply to the new tax levy. The Tax Commission revenue estimate for the gasoline and diesel fuel tax provided in this measure is as follows:
- FY-19 $104,982,615
- FY-19 Appropriations $99,733494
Higher Petroleum Producers Tax
Sections 8 & 9 of the measure increases from 2% to 5% the gross production tax on production occurring in the first 36 months from an oil, gas or oil and gas well. The increase applies to all production, occurring after the effective date of this act, subject to the 36 month rate. Section 8 also eliminates from the statute a larger portion of obsolete langue. Section 9 provides for the apportionment of GPT collected at a 5% rate. The Tax Commission revenue estimate for the gross production tax rate modifications provided in this measure is as follows:
- FY-19 $170,485,000
- FY-19 Appropriations $158,420,872
New Tax On Lodging
Sections 10-16 of the measure create the Oklahoma Occupation Tax Act and provide administrative directive. The Act levies a tax of $5 per night tax on hotel rooms Revenue from the levy will be apportioned to the General Revenue Fund. The Tax Commission revenue estimate for the zero-emission facility energy tax provided in this measure is as follows
- FY-19 $46,200,000
- FY-19 Apportionment $43,890,000