Capitol Considerations provides information about issues of concern to Sen. Bergstrom's constituents, including updates on legislation. He also offers opinions on matters ranging from politics to public policy, from recent news stories to matters of faith.
Wait for it. Wait for it. Wait for it.
That sound you heard was the “doink doink” of the Oklahoma House of Representatives closing down the vote Monday night on House Bill 1033xx.
And another revenue bill just bit the dust. Whether or not it can be resurrected is only to be seen.
Now there will be some who will be jumping for joy over this, while others are in mourning. Some will be crying from the rooftops, cellphones and social media, “Hurrah, the tax is dead.” Some will be shouting from those same places, “The teachers are leaving and our children are dying.”
Most will probably be wondering just what this does mean and what comes next.
In the previous session we had a plan, called the A-plus plan, that increased the motor fuel tax, cigarette tax and the gross production tax on oil and gas from two to four percent. Exactly the same levels of increase as in this new Step-Up Plan which also includes a tax on wind energy generation. The A-Plus plan passed the Senate but failed in the House by 5 votes. It failed because the oil and gas industry intensely lobbied against it.
On Monday night the Step-Up Plan, which is being pushed by the oil and gas industry because they fear a petition initiative to get a state question on the ballot to raise the gross production tax to seven percent, was defeated in the House by 13 votes.
So, unless we can pull a rabbit out of our hat, we are going to end up with cuts across most agencies, including education. It is likely there will be a move to remove exemptions on sales taxes of services, since that is a 50 percent vote, unlike new revenue bills that require 75 percent in both houses of the legislature. Your barber may have to start collecting such a tax. It is possible we will see the closing of some of our state parks. Some bridges will not be repaired or replaced, and some roads will have to wait as well.
Oh, and oil and gas, it’s likely they have seriously miscalculated and that state question will go to the ballot and be passed.
What can one say, but “doink doink.”
(By the way, that’s the sound you hear at the beginning of each Law and Order television episode, for those who didn’t know.)
I welcome your questions and concerns, so please feel free to contact my office at the State Capitol if you would like to discuss a particular issue or problem. Our office can be reached by phone at 405-521-5561 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you visit the Capitol, we are located in Room 428B.