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Lawmaker: If budget bill fails, there is no ‘plan B’

OKLAHOMA CITY — A failed revenue raising measure has lawmakers scrambling for a new solution.

A GOP-backed budget plan failed on the House floor Wednesday, after House Bill 1035 did not get enough support it needed to pass. It ultimately failed with a final vote of 54-44. Of the 54 voters in support of it, not a single one was a Democrat.

The bill included increased taxes on cigarettes, gas, and 3.2 percent beer while giving a pay boost to teachers and state workers. It made no mention of increasing Oklahoma’s gross production tax, something Democrats had been requesting for months.

Rep. Cory Williams, D-Stillwater, told reporters Thursday a “plan B” doesn’t exist. Instead, lawmakers are heading back to the drawing board.

“We’re hearing good things from the Senate on the gross production tax, that there may be some common ground there to be found and we’re hopeful that the Speaker and the floor leader will also understand that this building is not going to move forward without gross production tax and a restoration thereof on behalf of the citizens of Oklahoma,” said Rep. Williams.

On Thursday, the Oklahoma Senate approved a resolution that would request the House of Representatives to amend the original bill to include an increase to the gross production tax of oil and natural gas.

The Senate resolution asks the House to amend the budget agreement to include an increase in the gross production tax on new oil and gas wells to four percent for 36 months.