Oklahoma’s special session begins Tuesday
Okla. (KXII) -Oklahoma lawmakers returned to the state capitol Tuesday for yet another special session, this time to address Governor Kevin Stitt’s call for tax cuts.
Last month, Governor Stitt demanded tax fairness, a tax cut, and increased transparency in the state budget process.
Tuesday, he went into depth about what that would entail, “I couldn’t be more transparent with what I’m asking for,” Stitt said.
However, the President of the Oklahoma Senate Greg Treat thought otherwise, last month he called on Stitt to appear before the senate appropriations committee Tuesday to explain his goal.
“I’m not going to attend their meeting,” Stitt responded.
Instead, Stitt held a ‘defending your dollar’ press conference to discuss tax cuts he wants the legislature to pass.
He wants to slow the growth of government and put money back into taxpayers’ wallets.
“There’s been some confusion, I think people have been spinning things saying, ‘Hey governor, how are we going to pay for core services?’ Let me be very clear with Oklahomans,” Stitt said, “I would never advocate to cut revenue below reoccurring expenses.”
Core services or reoccurring expenses include, “education, roads and bridges, and healthcare,” Stitt said.
Stitt said the state has a record savings account balance of $5.4 billion and $1.2 billion in excess expenditures last year.
“So it’s time to slow the growth of government and give that back to the taxpayers,” Stitt added.
He hopes legislators will support him in eliminating the state’s grocery tax, in addition to a quarter-point tax cut, “a quarter of a point tax cut is $95 million according to the tax commission this next year and then it’s $245 million or $240 million the following year, we can absolutely do it when we have these types of surpluses.”
Stitt also wants lawmakers to address budget transparency, “let’s make sure the budget is more transparent, we have more time to look at it, we have more time for house and senate members to opine on that and I’ve just asked for 72 hours, 72 hours to look over the budget.”
While House Speaker Charles McCall of Atoka was present at the governor’s press conference Tuesday morning, Senate Leader Greg Treat was not.
The governor is asking for legislators to meet for 72 hours, meaning this session could last as little as just three days.
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