Cigarette Tax

okhouse.gov

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.

okhouse.gov

A $1.50 tax increase on cigarettes is getting moved to later in the legislative session at the State Capitol.

Representative Leslie Osborn says the tax increase will go before lawmakers on what's known as a J-CAB measure rather than a regular bill.

"We kind of got bogged down with a lot of other policy issues. We need to work both sides of the aisle, make sure we have the support. I expect we will because this one polls 76% across the state to pass with Ds and Rs."

Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Coming into Mary Fallin’s 7th state of the state address as governor of Oklahoma on Monday, there was one big question: 'How will the state deal with another revenue shortfall, and not cut funding to agencies that provide services?'

The state faces an estimated $870 million budget gap in the upcoming fiscal year. That comes after clawing out a $1.3 billion deficit last year.

"Today, I am proposing a series of bold reforms to stabilize our state regarding both recurring revenue and repairing the structural deficit of the budget."

Each time New York state increased its tobacco tax — now at $4.35 per pack of cigarettes — calls to the state's Quitline spiked.

In New York City, then-Mayor Michael Bloomberg hiked the tax even more.

"I was so angry with him, I could hardly afford it," says Elizabeth Lane, a Harlem resident who paid $12 a pack. "I had to beg, borrow and steal to get money to buy cigarettes."

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel and Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill about a bill to increase taxes on cigarettes fails in the House as the clock starts to run out at the State Capitol to create any new revenue to fix the $1.3 billion dollar shortfall.

The Oklahoma House rejected a proposed $1.50 per-pack tax on cigarettes to help shore up the state's health care system.

Updated May 19, 10:36 a.m.

House Bill 3210 failed on a vote of 59-40 against the measure even after House Speaker Jeff Hickman, R-Fairview, held the vote open for more than two hours Wednesday night to fix what he called a “health care disaster.” Republicans blaming Democrats for the bill's failure.

Facing potential cuts of 25 percent to Medicaid providers that experts say could devastate Oklahoma's health care system, Republican legislative leaders say support is growing for a plan to "rebalance" the state's Medicaid population to trigger an infusion of federal funding.

With support from Oklahoma hospitals and state health leaders, the head of Oklahoma's Medicaid agency on Thursday proposed a "rebalancing" of the program that could extend health coverage to 175,000 uninsured residents and trigger an infusion of federal funding.

Flickr / Fried Dough

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin's plan to increase the cigarette tax by $1.50 a pack to help pay for health care has passed its first legislative hurdle.

The Republican-controlled House Appropriations and Budget Committee voted 17-10 to advance House Bill 1841 to the full House. Some Republicans joined Democrats in voting against the measure.

It would more than double the cigarette tax, from $1.03 a pack to more than $2.50. Fallin says it would raise almost $258 million for health care.