OKLAHOMA CITY - House Republicans say a measure removing the capital gains exemption will not be heard this session, despite pressure from teachers and other House members.
On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Education Association ('OEA') said they want lawmakers to find $50 million more in funding to "make good on promises made to Oklahoma students." An option that has been suggested multiple times during the statewide walkout, which is now in its second week, is to remove the capital gains exemption.
However, hours after the seventh day of walkouts began, we were told Governor Mary Fallin signed HB1012XX into law which would repeal the hotel/motel tax. The OEA said Friday, a veto of this bill, along with the passage of the capital gains bill, would end the walkout.
Rep. Scott Inman, D-Del City, said the capital gains bill could potentially bring in roughly $70 million next year. Inman has vowed to bring up a motion every day to suspend House rules and hear the bill on the House floor, despite another unsuccessful attempt Tuesday.
"They have to do it. The teachers are going to be here until they do find a way to do it and they can’t just ignore them and try to wait them out. The teachers are smart. They’ve been educated," said Rep. Inman. "They know the issues now and they know what they’re asking for. They’ve very clear on it."
House assistant majority whip Rep. John Pfeiffer, R-Mulhall, said the bill will not be heard this session after an apparent deal between House Democrats and Republicans during negotiations on the passed revenue package HB1010.
"An agreement already was met when we agreed to go and pass 5% gross production tax in exchange for not hearing capital gains," said Rep. Pfeiffer. "To go back and use the same thing to bargain again is just simply disingenuous."
He also added allowing agriculture a pass on the exemption bill would cause legal issues.
"Our legal staff is worried that if we exempt stuff out, it creates special laws and it makes it hard to exempt out agriculture," Pfeiffer explained.
However, Democratic leaders in the House say they don't buy the legal argument.
"We’ve got lots of bills that apply to different industries differently," said House minority floor leader David Perryman, D-Chickasha. "For instance, farmers across the state have generations enjoyed a farm tag — which is a carve out."
As for the deal explained by Pfeiffer, Perryman told News 4 that's not what happened.
"It may have been a deal between House Republicans and Senate Republicans, but it was not a deal that involved the House Democrats at all," he said.
Some republicans say removing the exemption is not what's best for Oklahoma.
"If you look at an investor and they look at either investing out of Oklahoma or Texas, and their return investments could be lower in Oklahoma because we tax capital gains and Texas does not, they’re going to go Texas every time," said Rep. Kevin Calvey, R-Oklahoma City.
Fallin also signed HB3375 which allows tribal casinos to use traditional roulette and dice games
The House convenes Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.