OKLAHOMA CITY (OBV) – Democrats in the Oklahoma House of Representatives filed three tax relief bills for a special legislative session that begins at the State Capitol on Tuesday.
The legislature will go into special session in accordance with Gov. Kevin Stitt’s Executive Order 2023-23, which called upon legislators to implement a tax cut and a “tax fairness” trigger law.
“We have one job – to serve and protect all four million Oklahomans,” Stitt said upon issuing the executive order in September. “I’m calling on the Legislature to fight for Oklahomans and demand fairness and transparency in our tax system and our budget process. I am also calling on the Legislature to put Oklahoma on a path to zero income tax and give Oklahomans a much-needed tax break. If not now, when?”
The Democrats’ three tax relief bills are designed to help working families, said House Democratic Leader Cyndi Munson, D-Oklahoma City.
“The Governor called this special session to find ways to provide tax relief to Oklahomans and we are putting forth our measures that will do that for working families, not just the wealthy few,” Munson said.
Rep. Melissa Provenzano, D-Tulsa, filed HB1009XX, which aims to eliminate the state sales tax on groceries.
“Oklahoma is one of 13 states that still tax groceries,” Provenzano said. “Removing the state portion of the grocery tax helps Oklahomans of all income levels and will be felt every day in the checkout line. With broad support across the state and spanning the political spectrum, the Oklahoma Legislature can take this step as a reasonable measure that will help now, immediately, the next time someone heads out to pick up a gallon of milk.”
Rep. Andy Fugate, D-Del City, filed HB1013XX, which sets out to increase sales tax credits for lower income families.
“We talk a lot about tax credits for corporations and big industries but it’s time we take action and increase tax credits for the families that need it the most,” Fugate said. “Under my measure, we will expand this credit to more low and middle income families. Any family, even those without children, whose income would qualify for free and reduced lunch will see their current tax credit of $40 increased to $500 each year. Families that make up to three times the income limit would also qualify for a portion of the credit. This is just a common-sense measure that provides the type of relief that working families need.”
Munson filed HB1010XX, which seeks to expand the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC).
“The Earned Income Tax Credit is one of the surest ways to increase the incomes of working families while offsetting their income taxes,” Munson said. “My bill increases the current refundability rate from 10% of the Federal EITC rate to 20%. We already have this tax credit in place to help the families that need it the most and expanding it will help them even more. The Governor already signaled his support for the EITC by signing legislation to restore it in 2022 and now we have the opportunity to build on top of that measure to target tax relief to working Oklahomans.”
This will be the second special session of 2023.
Stitt called upon the legislature to accomplish the following priorities during the special session:
- A trigger law mandating that if a state or federal court finds that certain individuals do not have to pay a state tax due to their race, heritage or political classification, then no Oklahoman will have to pay the tax.
- A tax cut that puts Oklahoma on the path to zero income taxes to keep the state in line with surrounding Republican-led states.
- A measure that increases budget transparency to ensure that Oklahomans and their elected representatives are able to see how their taxpayer dollars are being spent.
The House convenes the special session at 11 a.m. Tuesday.