Oklahoma voters could address tax hike threshold

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OKLAHOMA CITY – Oklahoma voters would get to decide whether to make it easier for the Legislature to raise taxes under a bill that has narrowly cleared the House.

House Joint Resolution 1050 passed Thursday on a bipartisan 51-41 vote. The measure now heads to the Senate.

The bill would lower the state constitution’s three-fourth’s majority requirement needed for the Legislature to pass a tax increase to a two-third’s majority. Oklahoma’s three-fourth’s criteria is among the highest in the nation.

The threshold has proved problematic for Republican leaders looking to pass tax hikes to shore up the budget and pay for teacher raises. But some Democrats argued the requirement protects low-income Oklahomans from regressive tax increases that Republicans have supported, like those on cigarettes, motor fuel and alcohol.

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