Oklahoma’s low fuel tax tempting target amid budget crunch

OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma’s tax on gasoline and diesel fuel has remained untouched since 1987 and is among the lowest in the nation. That is making it a tempting target for state lawmakers desperate for revenue amid a third straight year of budget declines.

Several Republican legislators said last week they expect proposals will be unveiled once the session begins in February to increase the state’s gasoline and diesel taxes of 17 cents and 14 cents, respectively.

New House Speaker Charles McCall says he fully expects a fuel tax bill to be introduced this session, but says a constitutional requirement that any tax increase receives 76 votes in the House will make it difficult to pass.

Lawmakers are facing a budget hole of about $870 million, or about 12 percent of state spending.