OCAH would like to pass on the following information from the OK Policy Institute with updated information on the bills related to the state budget crisis. We hope our membership finds this information useful as you make a decision on what is best for your organizations.
Monday, the State Senate passed with a bipartisan vote of 37-5 a bill which includes a $1.50 cigarette tax increase, a 6 cent fuel tax increase, and a 4 percent gross production tax on new wells. This comprehensive revenue plan is the only option left to avert devastating budget cuts, provide desperately needed raises for teachers and state employees, and restore the Earned Income Tax Credit for low-income workers.
Yesterday, a new version of the comprehensive plan containing identical language was introduced as HB 1054 and passed out of the House JCAB committee on a 19-6 vote.
HB 1054 is expected to be heard by the full House this afternoon. The bill must receive 76 votes, or 3/4th support, to meet the supermajority hurdle for revenue bills established by State Question 640. If it can pass the House today, there is a strong likelihood the comprehensive plan will become law.
Please call your Representative this morning and urge him or her to Vote Yes on HB 1054. Click here to find your Representative.
As we wrote yesterday, this is it. This is the last chance for a comprehensive, fair, and long-term solution to the budget crisis. The hard reality is that there is no choice between HB 1054 and some better deal with a 5 or 7 percent gross production tax or a more progressive revenue mix. The only choice is between HB 1054 and a far worse deal or no deal at all.
HB 1054 is far from perfect, but it is the linchpin of a comprehensive, fair, and long-term solution to the budget crisis. Most urgently, it averts catastrophic and imminent cuts to our health care system and social safety net. It’s no exaggeration to say his is a matter of life and death for Oklahomans suffering from mental illness or living with severe disabilities.
If HB 1054 fails, lawmakers are expected to move on to "Plan B" that involves a combination of one-time cash and cuts that would deepen next year’s budget hole, put the state’s credit rating at risk, force teachers and state workers to go yet another year without a raise, and do more damage to important state services needed by Oklahoman families. If there’s no deal at all by December 1st, Oklahomans’ health care and social services will be devastated.
Please contact your House member now in support of HB 1054. Be sure to share how the failure to resolve the budget crisis will affect your family, your business, or your community. See our Advocacy Alert for talking points and additional resources and our Special Session Frequently Asked Questions for more information.
Thank you for making your voice heard once again on behalf of the best solution possible for the state’s budget emergency.