OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Despite the Senate voting to withdraw their participation from the special session on tax cuts, the Speaker of the House said he will continue their side of business in hopes of a resolution.
- A trigger law mandating that if a state or federal court finds that some individuals, due to their race, heritage, or political classification, don’t have to pay a state tax, then no Oklahoman will have to pay the tax.
- A tax cut that puts Oklahoma on the path to zero income taxes. This will keep us in line with surrounding Republican-led states.
- A measure that increases budget transparency to ensure that Oklahomans and their elected representatives have the ability and opportunity to see how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.
Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat said he wanted a detailed plan from the Governor on how to go about zero income tax.
Pro Tem Treat invited Gov. Stitt to a Tuesday Appropriations and Budget Committee meeting, but the Governor never showed up.
Instead, Gov. Stitt was a few floor doors down holding his own press conference.
In the Governor’s press conference, he discussed wanting to start with a quarter of a percent reduction on tax income.
Because the Governor was a no show to the Senate committee meeting, the Senate voted to adjourn sine die.
Adjourning sine die means the Senate has not set a day to reconvene for the special session.
The House reconvened for day two of the special session Wednesday morning where members were adjourned until a call of the chair. This means the House is still in special session, but do not meet regularly to discuss the Governor’s requests.
“We’re obviously very disappointed that the Senate sine died their session yesterday without taking any votes on any tax measures. That continues to be and will continue to be a focus and a priority for the House of Representatives,” said Speaker of the House Charles McCall.
Without the Senate’s participation, the House cannot pass any legislation this special session.
“If the Senate is interested in something else, they need to communicate that to the House and we’ll take it to our caucus. That was our plan to see if we could get an agreement and something to the governor’s desk. But we had absolutely no communication,” stated Speaker McCall.
The House filed 18 shell bills on Tuesday regarding taxation. Those shell bills will now be in limbo.
“We were actually going to caucus after the floor session today to vet out all possibilities to refine the legislation and and to consider anything that the Senate communicated to the House that they would would consider with their actions yesterday,” added Speaker McCall. “The Senate should just do what the House does. Put it up for a vote. If the Senate members don’t want it, vote it down. The issue will be closed. The problem is there’s been four sessions now where nothing has gone up on the board for a vote. We just need to take the votes. This isn’t you just perpetuate political theater until you put it up on the vote in dispute. Put it up for a vote, then you dispose of the issue.”
Despite the Governor being caught on camera walking with his security detail down Speaker McCall’s hallway, the Speaker claimed he had not met with Gov. Stitt as of Wednesday morning. He added he has not spoken with Pro Tem Treat either.
The Governor cannot call lawmakers into a new special session while this session is still technically happening.
Speaker McCall said while he will not call Representatives back to the Capitol for the remainder of the week, he does not plan to sign die the special session.
“That’s just a sign of throwing in the towel and giving up. If the Senate wants to do that, that’s their prerogative to do it. We’re not ready. We’re not ready to do that. I’m not going to bring the House back in and waste the taxpayers’ money either,” stated Speaker McCall. “We’re going to continue to work and try to find a way to make this happen for the people of the state of Oklahoma.”
The cost of each special session is about $17,500 per chamber, per day. That dollar amount is if each member shows up to the Capitol and partakes.
This special session is the second one this year. The first special session happened over the summer regarding tribal compacts.
The first special session only lasted one day for both chambers.
The Senate has convened for a total of two days for special sessions this year. The House has convened for three days.
The potential cost for taxpayers is $87,500.