Court Considers Logrolling Challenge Against Tax Cut Bill
The fate of a bill to lower state taxes rests in the hands of the State Supreme Court after oral arguments on Tuesday.
Opponents say the bill contains more than one subject because it also allocates $120 million to repair the State Capitol.
Oklahoma City Attorney Jerry Fent calls his arguments against House Bill 2032 a slam dunk.
Fent testified before a Supreme Court referee that cutting the top personal income tax rate and repairing the capitol are two different subjects.
But the State contends 2032 is constitutional falling under the single subject of managing the tax code or how the legislature allocates money.
The Supreme Court has made strong rulings against bills for violating the single subject rule including a landmark tort reform bill it shot down last month.
Assistant Attorney General Dan Weitman says he’ll wait to see what the Supreme Court decides.
“In the past few years the court has really cracked down on the single subject rule and has interpreted very strictly. We hope that they see in this case that it is a single subject, but the court will have to make that decision.”
Meanwhile, Fent says House Bill 2032 also violates the constitution by requiring allocations to fix the capitol over two separate years.
And it goes against State Question 640 requiring three-fourths of the legislature to pass a bill dealing with revenue.
While optimistic, Fent worries about recent politics from legislative leaders calling for term limits on judges.
“What will be interesting in this case is whether the court is intimidated outside the merits of this case by statements by different people that they’re going to look into a constitutional provision to terminate judges’ tenure on courts.”
The referee now submits a report to the Supreme Court which could make a ruling based off that or call attorneys in for more questioning in a full hearing before the judges.