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Budget bill dead after committee gavels out; could be brought back at later time

OKLAHOMA CITY -- A compromise discussed in the House budget committee went nowhere Friday after a failed revenue-raising measure this week.

House Bill 1054 was tied 11 to 11 before the committee officially gaveled out early Friday evening. The bill was nearly identical to a revenue raising measure that failed to pass the House floor Wednesday. It would have raised taxes on gas, tobacco, and 3.2 beer while giving teachers and state workers a pay boost. The new bill tacks on a 4% gross production tax on new oil and gas wells.

"It was a tied voted. If you'll do the math, one Democrat voted in there," said Republican Representative Kevin Wallace. "It could come up again but not if it won’t pass without the democratic support."

Democrats want the tax to jump to 7 percent after the first 12 months. Representative Eric Proctor, D-Tulsa says they've done their part in the compromise.

"We went from 7 on all wells to 7 on new wells and all the way down to where we are now which is 4 at 12. We've agreed to their plan of cigarette tax and gasoline tax and alcohol tax which I don't like at all and most of my caucus doesn't like at all," said Representative Proctor.

In response, Speaker Charles McCall said it was clear there was no bipartisan support in the House for this package.

He says in a statement, "The reality is, State Question 640 is working exactly as Oklahomans intended it to when they passed it two decades ago. They wanted to make it really hard for the Legislature to raise taxes, and I can assure them it is. At this point, it has become increasingly evident that there are likely no options that require 76 votes that can pass in the House. If additional revenue is needed, we are prepared to use the other provision in State Question 640 and send those revenue raising options to the citizens to let them decide at the ballot box whether they want their taxes raised or not.”