A lawsuit claims income tax cut legislation approved by the Oklahoma Legislature and signed into law by Gov. Mary Fallin is unconstitutional.
The lawsuit was filed Thursday by Oklahoma City attorney Jerry Fent, who has successfully challenged legislation in the past. It asks the state Supreme Court to declare the tax cut unconstitutional and block it.
The 2014 Oklahoma legislative session kicked off two weeks ago Monday, with an income tax cut, reduced agency budgets, repairing the state Capitol, and employee compensation all facing lawmakers as they return to NE 23rd Street and Lincoln Blvd. in Oklahoma City.
A Republican House member from Oklahoma City is proposing an adjustment to the state's tax on oil and natural gas production that would benefit companies that hire Oklahoma workers.
Rep. David Dank proposed a compromise on Thursday that would set the gross production tax rate for all oil and gas wells between 2 percent and 6 percent, depending on how many full-time workers each producer employs in Oklahoma.
State leaders expect a $170 million shortfall. This year's budget was just half a percent larger than five years ago, without adjusting for inflation. And projections estimate a deficit of up to $2 billion by 2035.
Cutting income taxes. The state's been here before, and quite recently.
"The [Oklahoma] Supreme Court threw the legislature a lifeline by striking down 2032," said Oklahoma Policy Institute Director David Blatt at the organization's budget summit last week.
As passed, House Bill 2032 would have cut the state income tax to 5 percent in 2015 and 4.85 percent after that. The state Supreme Court threw it out in December because it also provided money for capitol repairs.
An attorney with a long track record of successfully challenging legislative actions as unconstitutional is taking aim at a bill to cut the state's income tax and fund repairs to the crumbling Capitol.
Oral arguments were held Tuesday before a referee for the Oklahoma Supreme Court.
Attorney Jerry Fent claims the bill is unconstitutional because it violates a provision of the state Constitution that requires bills to embrace only one subject.