KGOU

special legislative session

Oklahoma Senate minority leader John Sparks, D-Norman, talks about the gross production rate on Oct. 26, 2017.
Jacob McCleland / KGOU

The Oklahoma Senate is trying to break a stalemate between House Republicans and Democrats. On Thursday, the Senate passed a bipartisan resolution, urging House leaders to include in their budget plans a tax increase on oil and gas production.

Speaker of the Oklahoma House Charles McCall, R-Atoka, speaks at a news conference to announce a state budget deal on October 23, 2017.
Sue Ogrocki / AP

Democrats in the Oklahoma House voted down a GOP-backed package that would have increased taxes on cigarettes, smokeless tobacco, low point beer and fuel on a tense day at the state capitol.

The plan would have also given a pay raise to teachers and some state employees.

As Budget Deal Remains Elusive, Inaction Could Cost State

Oct 11, 2017
Oklahoma Capitol
ensign_beedrill / Flickr Creative Commons

Each passing day without a deal to bridge the state’s $215 million budget shortfall means less potential revenue will be available if lawmakers pass one or multiple tax increases.

An Oklahoma Watch analysis of state projections shows that each day that lawmakers don’t pass the $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax would cost the state between $680,305 and $712,265 in potential new revenue, depending on what calculations the state uses.

American currency
thinkpanama / Flickr Creative Commons

Legislators aren’t the only ones who returned to the Capitol for the special session.

If it’s anything like the regular session, lobbyists will be picking up the tabs for pricey dinners and drinks during the days or weeks to come. Lobbyists spent almost half a million dollars on meals and gifts for lawmakers and other public officials during the spring session.

Oklahoma State House of Representatives

Republican and Democratic leaders blamed each other Wednesday for the ongoing budget impasse. House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, abruptly canceled an expected vote on a proposed cigarette tax increase and announced the House would adjourn until a budget deal is reached.

Sue Ogrocki, File / AP Photo

A special legislative session to address a $215 million budget hole is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. on Monday.