Editor’s Note (02/15, 3:15 p.m.): SB1495 passed unanimously with a 12-0 vote by the Senate Finance Committee. SB1495 will now go to the Senate Appropriations Committee for consideration.
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – How would you like to skip the state sales tax at the supermarket? Lawmakers at the Oklahoma State Capitol are working on plans to potentially make that happen.
It doesn’t happen often at the Capitol, but some Republicans and Democrats are actually agreeing on something: a tax cut that could save every Oklahoman when they make a run to the store.
There are currently three bills on the docket that would cut the 4.5% state sales tax on groceries.
“This helps every Oklahoma family, if you buy groceries and every Oklahoma family buys groceries,” said Sen. Greg Treat, President Pro Tempore.
“We’ve cut income taxes. We’ve cut corporate taxes. It’s time to pick the one that hits folks who are making less,” said Rep. Emily Virgin, House Minority Leader.
Right now, OKC residents pay 8.63% in taxes at the register. If these bills eliminate the 4.5% in state taxes, residents would only have to pay 4.13% in city/municipality taxes.
Oklahoma is one of only 13 states that still taxes groceries.
“We have the largest savings account in state history at over $2 billion!” said Governor Kevin Stitt during his 2022 State of the State Address.
Governor Stitt and lawmakers from both parties say the state is in the right place financially for the potential $300 million in lost state revenue.
Both House Minority Leader Virgin and Senate Pro Temp Treat have filed bills to eliminate the state tax. Virgin’s bill does it over 3 years; Treats does it all at once.
“The way the inflation is out of control right now, I think driven by some policies on the federal side, I think the time is now to do it completely,” said Treat.
Virgin says Democrats have been pushing for this for decades, and it if takes state Republicans pushing back at the Biden Administration, so be it.
“We’ll take whatever circumstances it takes to get here,” said Virgin.
The third bill, a house bill, would put the tax cut to a vote of the people.
Virgin’s bill HB3621 passed through a house committee this afternoon 9-0.