State budget talks remain at standstill
OKLAHOMA CITY (KOKH) —
Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall dismissed members Thursday with several revenue raising measures still on the table.
“If we don't come up with any new revenue, it looks like we are headed for a special session,” said Rep. Emily Virgin, (D) Norman.
However, Minority Leader Scott Inman seemed confident that would not be the case.
"I feel better today than I did four or five days ago that come next Tuesday or Wednesday, we might have some real revenue packages that meet bipartisan support,” Inman said.
That includes potential agreements on the both the gross production tax and cigarette tax. Each of which would help fill the almost billion dollar deficit.
"If you do the gross production tax to where we want it, it brings in several hundred million dollars; we'll be conservative and say $200 million,” Inman said. You take the Republicans numbers on cigarette tax. Which if they do the right thing on gross production tax, we'll do the right thing on cigarette tax. That brings in another $200 million. So you're at $400 million."
Another measure includes taking $100 million from ODOT. That would bring the total to revenue raised to $500 million. There is also still discussion surrounding itemized deductions. exempting out charitable deductions. You add those to the oil and gas credits that have already been agreed to and Inman says you're getting pretty close to a billion dollars. In the meantime, some House Republicans have branched out and created a plan of their own. One of which contains proposals ranging from slashing promotional swag to identifying and deporting thousands of Hispanic children statewide.
"We've been saying, give us a plan,” Inman said. “Well, this House Republican caucus committee of far-right members apparently took us up on the offer. And while I appreciate them trying, the offer would be laughable, if it wasn't so offensive.”
In response to the Republican Platform Caucus proposal to threaten 82,000 children with deportation, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of Oklahoma issued the following statement:
“The Republican Platform Caucus is using cheap, tired tactics of political distraction in an attempt to create confusion about Oklahoma’s true problem—a failing Legislature. Indeed, the Oklahoma Legislature is a far greater threat to the safety and prosperity of Oklahomans than any child that may have entered this Nation from one of our borders.
This proposal might be laughable if it weren’t made at the expense of real human beings, common decency, and the United States Constitution. Threatening 82,000 children with arrest and internment that would turn their entire lives upside down is disgustingly inhumane.
The United States Supreme Court has ruled in Plyler v. Doe that all children living in this Nation are guaranteed the right to a public education. The ACLU will not stand for any attempt to strip any student of that right, nor will we allow the Legislature to insert racial profiling or discriminatory stereotypes about non English speakers into our schools.
A government that threatens to turn children over to law enforcement to avoid educating them should alarm and outrage all Oklahomans of conscious. Immigration authority has no place in our schools. Racial profiling has no place in our schools. By proposing an agenda that states otherwise, those members of the Legislature pushing this proposal have demonstrated very clearly they consider themselves the enemies of the children they were elected to represent and protect.”