It appears that House Democrats have joined the ranks of those supporting a Republican leadership tax package. The Massive new taxes will hit the lodging industry hard. Each night of lodging will include another $5 state tax on top of the already hefty sales tax and special community taxes earmarked for tourism, or core local govt. services.
The mentally ill will be hit with an additional $1 per pack tax on tobacco products. As we have detailed in another article, The mentally ill consume 44% of all tobacco products and have extreme difficulty becoming stable enough to handle the stress of withdrawal that their fragile nervous system must endure. Mental health advocates equate this to a tax on wheelchairs in the name of compassion for the disabled.
This legislature has largely turned their back on the mentally ill, forcing cops to incarcerate far more of them in jails around the state than are properly treated in state mental health hospitals. The state now has only 349 state-operated beds, but Just Tulsa jail alone, houses over 500 men who have sought treatment for severe mental illness.
Oklahoma has recently emerged from a 24 month recession and state tax collections are breaking records. Still the legislature's appetite for more spending is driving this session's leaders to confiscate more of Oklahoma citizens' household income.
The promise to conduct performance audits appears to be an empty one. No activity seems to be coming from the commission set up last fall.
The House media page says the vote will be held when the body convens at 10:30, tonight.