‘Political theater’: Senate once again opts out of special session on tax cuts called week before regular session

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Oklahoma Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City, says the chamber will not stick around for Governor Kevin Stitt’s special session on income tax cuts, which begins just one week before the regular session is set to convene.

Last week, Gov. Stitt called for a special session of Oklahoma’s 59th Legislature to seek a 0.25% income tax reduction for all Oklahomans.

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“From day one, I’ve called on the Legislature to give Oklahomans a much deserved tax cut,” Stitt said. “With record-breaking savings and a strong economic outlook, there’s no time like the present to deliver a pay raise to all Oklahomans. Let’s get this across the finish line before we head into regular session.”

The special session is scheduled to begin on January 29.

The regular session is scheduled to begin on February 5.

At the time of Stitt’s announcement, Treat said, “I outlined to the governor, we will not know how much money the state will have to spend on a tax cut until the Board of Equalization meets to certify budget numbers in mid-February… It is unfortunate the governor has chosen this route. The Senate will adhere to the call of the special session, as we have always done to respect and uphold our constitutional duty. However, I do not know what will be different between the last week in January and the last time he pulled this stunt in October.

When Stitt called for a special session in October over tax cuts, the Senate convened and adjourned the same day after the governor was a no-show to an Appropriations and Budget Committee meeting.

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Now, it seems the Senate plans to once again dismiss on day one until the regular session begins.

Nothing has changed in the Senate’s position since the last special session was called in October. The senate plans to gavel to call of the chair. The appropriate time for discussion on budget and taxes is during regular session that starts a week after the governor’s special session call. Since there is no agreement, special session – a week prior to regular session – is just political theater and a waste of taxpayer dollars.

During the regular session and only after we have certified numbers from the Board of Equalization, is when we will know how much we have to spend. I feel like the governor’s numbers compared to what we are seeing are simply not accurate.

For these reasons and more are why my colleagues in the Senate will adhere to the Constitution by coming in for the special session and adjourn on Monday, without action on legislation.

Senate President Pro Tempore Greg Treat, R-Oklahoma City

In response, Gov. Stitt said, “All I asked was for Senator Treat to put a quarter-point tax cut up for a vote. The Senate is refusing to do what 65% of Oklahomans support: cutting taxes. If anything is a waste of taxpayer money, it is the refusal of Senate leadership to give Oklahomans a well-deserved pay raise.”

The House stands with the overwhelming majority of Oklahomans who want a tax cut.

Revenues are strong, state savings are at record highs and now is the perfect time to cut taxes.Our body still plans to answer the governor’s call to special session and take a vote on a .25% tax cut as has been requested.

Speaker of the House Charles McCall, R-Atoka

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