A special legislative session to address a $215 million budget hole is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.
Ecapitol news director Shawn Ashley says a leading proposal to help close the gap in the budget includes a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax increase.
“There are a number of Republicans, particularly in the House, that have taken a ‘no new taxes’ stance,” Ashley says. “We saw that in the regular session where they were able to kill a number of bills in the House in particular, and we will probably see some of those same members taking that stance in the special session.”
Ashley says the other obstacle to passing the proposal is the tobacco lobby.
Some Democrats supported raising the cigarette tax during the last legislative session. However, most voted against it, and were in favor of looking for other ways to increase revenue.
The bill failed in the Oklahoma House of Representatives 63 to 34, shy of the three-quarters needed. In all, 14 Democrats and 20 Republicans voted against the bill.
Democrats proposed reducing oil and gas exemptions on the gross production tax and increasing the income tax on the highest earners.
The leading proposal also includes using existing state funds from the rainy day fund and money left over from the last legislative session.
Capitol Insider is a collaborative news project between KGOU and eCapitol. Music provided by Astral Planes. As a community-supported news organization, KGOU relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online, or by contacting our Membership department. eCapitol is a legislative news and bill tracking service. Online content is available via subscription.