Oklahoma Lawmakers Working to Raise Revenue

Apr 19, 2017

Lawmakers are slowly working on measures to increase revenue.

House Appropriations Chair Leslie Osborn says over the next three weeks bills will be coming out of the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget, also known as J-CAB.

The Mustang Republican says most of the measures appear to be getting support from both sides.

“It’s taken about three months, and I like to say we’re herding cats up here. I think that most of my caucus and I hope the minority caucus will go with us in actually having a plan that will raise a few targeted revenues to get us to a level of core services that we need.”

Earlier this week, J-CAB passed five measures to raise $28 million with more coming in the next few weeks.

Representative Osborn says this is all part of modernizing a tax code more than 80 years old.

“This is a bigger job. We’re going to have to continue to do that because at that time we were a product-based market. We were basically agricultural. Now, we really are more of a service-oriented state, so to keep modernizing that is not ridiculous when you look at it’s been that way since the 30s.”

The measures passed earlier this week only need 51% support, but others coming soon will require three-quarters approval from lawmakers.

Osborn says legislation to increase cigarette taxes by a $1.50 per pack is coming out and appears to have support from many of the lawmakers.

She adds lawmakers need to pass all upcoming revenue raising bills for a stable or flat budget for agencies.

The state is facing a nearly $900 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year which starts July 1st.