Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Taxpayers' Turn at Last?

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

The Taxpayers' Turn at Last?

Article excerpt

Oklahoma taxpayers will learn this week if it really is their turn.

"This time, it's the taxpayers' turn," read the stickers worn by House Speaker Loyd Benson, D-Frederick, and Minority Leader Larry Ferguson, R-Cleveland, as they went out about business on Friday.

The stickers referred to the Republican-led tax-cut move that has taken many turns since the start of the 1998 Oklahoma Legislature, which must adjourn at 5 p.m. this Friday under a constitutional deadline. Benson was given his sticker by House Appropriations Chairman Jim Hamilton, D-Poteau. Hamilton was given a supply of stickers by Ferguson and has been having fun passing them out, kidding any Republicans he spots not wearing one. The humor has been lost on Senate Democrats, who worried earlier about whether there was enough money to give tax cuts and adequately fund schools, prisons and other needed programs. The Senate has been far apart from the House and Republican Gov. Frank Keating on the tax-cut issue all session. But legislative leaders are hinting broadly that a breakthrough could be coming in time to enact a significant tax reduction before adjournment. Keating has taken the position that he will not permit lawmakers to dip into the constitutional Rainy Day Fund to balance the state budget unless there is a significant tax-cut program. He wants a "general" tax reduction, such as a sales tax or income tax cut, in addition to paring the estate tax, which most lawmakers favor. The deadlock has left higher education funding in limbo. A plan agreed to earlier by Democrats called for giving colleges and universities a $50.5 million increase, with all but $10 million of that coming from the Rainy Day Fund. Senate President Pro Tem Stratton Taylor, D-Claremore, was tightlipped late last week on the prospects for a tax cut broader than he had previously mentioned. "Certainly, everyone has had that discussion," he said. At the same time, Taylor insisted that, "We're in good shape for an orderly adjournment. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.