OKLAHOMA CITY- Tensions rose at the Oklahoma State Capitol as the latest budget bill just failed to receive the necessary number of votes to pass.
House Bill 1035 includes a tax on cigarettes, a motor vehicle fuel tax, and an additional tax on beer, while giving a pay boost to teachers and state employees.
On Wednesday, members of the House of Representatives argued about the measure, which failed to receive the 76 votes needed to pass.
House Speaker Charles McCall said 75 percent of the Republican caucus voted in favor the plan, but no Democratic votes were cast in favor of the measure.
“We have spent months putting together something that could pass this chamber, pass the Senate chamber and be signed into law. We didn’t ask all the Democrats to vote for this bill. We didn’t ask all the Republicans to vote for this bill. All we asked for was a 75 percent bipartisan effort. The Republicans have put theirs up. I’m calling on the Democrats right now to pass this measure. I’m giving them what they’ve said they’re holding out for. If this measure passed, I guaranteed a vote on House Bill 1009, which is Rep. Inman’s filed bill on GPT at 5 percent for 36 months. It’s guaranteed. I moved it out of rules, directly to the calendar,” McCall said.
However, Democratic Rep. Cory Williams confronted McCall as he was speaking to the press.
"This plan not only addresses the immediate issues and budget hole that we're dealt with, but it also puts us on a firm footing going into next session," McCall said.
"That's not entirely true. Doesn't it result in cuts?" Williams said.
"Excuse me, I'd like to finish," McCall said.
"Doesn't it result in cuts, Mr. Speaker, while we're doing political theater?" Williams asked.
"Ladies and gentlemen, not one vote on that board, Rep. Williams, not one vote," McCall said, turning to Rep. Williams.
"Yeah," he responded.
"Yeah, it's very, very disappointing," McCall said.
At that point, McCall and Williams began arguing back and forth with McCall telling Williams to meet him in his office.
"Instead of that political theater," Williams said.
"This is not political theater," McCall said.
"Propoganda machine instead of actually coming down and doing something by leading your caucus to a solution," Williams said.
“We went down to 4 percent today on the floor of House. So for the Speaker to say that he’s done everything he can, he’s either an effect-less leader or he’s disingenuine, you can pick one of the two, I don’t care. But he’s right about one thing- this is bs. We should have a better plan. Those people who were here yesterday deserve a better plan. We got here because we cut the gross production tax. We got here because we cut the income tax. Are either one of those a part of this? No. We are shifting the tax burden of this state to the working poor and the indigent. And for Chairman Wallace to say, ‘Well, it taxes everybody across the board.’ We all know it’s a regressive tax. It hits the poor and the least among us the hardest. I’ve heard nothing but disingenuous claims from the majority caucus for the better part of two months. We are not going to change our vote. The Speaker can close it and go back to the negotiating table and come back with a solution that works for everybody in Oklahoma, not the wealthy, not an industry, but every single Oklahoman,” Williams said.