House Speaker Charles McCall, R-Atoka, had some harsh words Friday after the governor mentioned his plans to send lawmakers back to the capitol in June to find relief to fight inflation.
Stitt basically said the legislature didn’t do enough when it came to inflation relief, hence the call for a special session on June 13. Stitt also made accusations of the legislature pandering to special interest groups and lobbyists. McCall called it disingenuous and said it undermined the hard work of the legislature.
“We are completely appalled and disappointed that the governor would conduct himself the way that he did yesterday as well beneath the office that he holds,” McCall said in a Friday news conference.
House Speaker McCall’s comments come one day after Stitt voiced his displeasure with several parts of the budget that passed both chambers on May 20. He said he and Oklahomans were left in the dark on it.
“Parts like special carve-outs, that are the results of backroom deals between lobbyists and legislature, are not in our state’s best interest,” Stitt said in a Thursday afternoon news conference. “It’s long overdue, but we need to have a real conversation as leaders in this state and as an Oklahomans of how this budget process happens.”
The beef comes amid the governor’s calls for inflation relief. Stitt said he wants to eliminate the sales tax on groceries and reduce the personal income taxes. He also chastised two bills that would provide inflation relief checks to Oklahomans.
“Seventy-five dollar inflation checks that won’t be sent out until December. And by the way, it’s federally taxed,” he said. “That’s not real relief; it’s a slap in the face to hardworking Oklahomans.”
McCall though, saying everything Stitt has brought up has already been run through the house. Despite bipartisan legislation to end the grocery tax, it was left off the final budget proposal. McCall added that with $700 million in tax rebates set to lure electric car maker Panasonic to Oklahoma, one of Stitt’s biggest priorities this legislative session, it limits them elsewhere. McCall, also said if they’re coming back for a special session in June, he wants all options on the table for inflation relief.
“We want to help Oklahomans but to limit it to just two issues through the governor’s call for special session, that’s not that’s not being sincere,” McCall said.
The legislature overrode several other vetoes from Stitt Friday afternoon.