‘Put it on the board’: How the year’s biggest vote could shape up
By William W. Savage III, NonDoc.com Editor in Chief – November 7, 2017
The 2017 Oklahoma Legislature has taken no bigger swing at a “grand bargain” than the vote that will be coming Wednesday in the House of Representatives — a doubling of the gross production tax rate on new wells, plus consumption taxes that will raise hundreds of millions of dollars in coming years.
Passing such a measure would allow for a $3,000 teacher raise and a $1,000 state employee raise, if all goes to purported plan.
But hitting such a home run for the state’s struggling coffers will require 76 “aye” votes in the House, a fastball that Speaker Charles McCall has been unable to square up during his first year batting leadoff.
To McCall’s detriment have been criticisms that the prominent Atoka banker has protected oil and gas interests from public groundswell for a higher GPT rate. McCall has also been criticized within his caucus for not “leading” the House to a revenue solution over months of negotiations, and he allowed his team to forfeit in committee when they had a chance to pass this same bill to the full House on Oct. 27. (That required the help of a majority of Democrats voting no, of course.)