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Senate Passes Resolution To Find Budget Solution

Senate Passes Resolution To Find Budget Solution”

The package included a $1.50-per-pack cigarette tax, a six-cent tax increase on gas and changes to the way Oklahoma taxes low-point beer and cigars.

By Thursday evening, the House and Senate had teed up a "Plan A" that is exactly what the Senate asked for and a "Plan B" that cobbles together budget cuts, reserve cash and new revenue. Speaker Charles McCall offered to bring a gross production tax bill to the floor later, but the Democrats held firm.

A bipartisan group of state senators said Thursday it's time to consider increasing taxes on the oil and gas industry to reach a budget compromise in time to save health care and social service programs. If they will pass this package, I will guarantee them a straight up vote on GPT at 5 percent on the House floor. He says that amount of revenue won't solve the state's budget woes, but it is symbolically important to the public and the Democratic party. So he's put them all in one bill.

House Bill 1035 is scheduled for a floor vote Wednesday. Though not specific regarding the length of time of the incentive rate, Senate Resolution 1 indicates a willingness to have a discussion around an increase to 4 percent. It fell short of the required three-fourths majority largely because Democrats opposed it without an increase in the gross production tax.

"We think we can do it". And for Chairman Wallace to say, 'Well, it taxes everybody across the board.' We all know it's a regressive tax. Though the deal we announced earlier this week achieved those goals, it's clear it can not pass unless gross production taxes are included.

Assistant Minority Leader Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa, said his caucus has maintained that it would accept 4 percent only if the discount period is shortened to 12 months.

Now new wells are taxed at 2 percent during their first 36 months of operation.

Senate Republicans said they will not go above four percent on the gross production tax, adding that they won't have the votes for anything higher.

Senate Democratic Leader John Sparks, D-Norman, said: "This is the time for leadership, real compromise and a long-term plan of action for Oklahoma and its people. Gross production tax is not your problem, but they feel it is".

Treat said he hopes the House takes it up, along with the revenues they tried to pass Wednesday, to fill the budget hole and to stop the bleeding.

"That's the reason we left it out of our package", he said.

Wigley said tax policy will reduce Oklahoma's ability to attract new drilling.

"We encourage the Republican House Caucus to stand with their colleagues across the rotunda, include an increase to the gross production tax in their revenue plan, and allow a vote tomorrow in order to complete the work our constituents expected us to do months ago".



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