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State Sales Tax on Food Removed in Oklahoma Senate

State Sales Tax on Food Removed in Oklahoma Senate

House Bill 1955 was approved by the Oklahoma Senate on Thursday, abolishing the sales tax on food in the state.

President pro tempore of the Senate Greg Treat introduced the legislation as the sole tax cut the Senate will entertain in this legislative session due to the state’s inability to accommodate more cuts. The bill refunds $411 million to the taxpayers.

Treat stated that he believes they are well-positioned to maintain this over the long run. “Will this result in predominantly stagnant budgets?” I believe that to be mostly accurate.

Sen. Roger Thompson, the chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, was the sole Republican who opposed the bill. During the floor debate, he emphasized that Oklahoma has made significant efforts to achieve financial stability but continues to face challenges. Thompson mentioned issues such as poor county roads and insufficient rider rates for care homes, which result in difficulty retaining personnel.

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Thompson respectfully expressed opposition to the bill due to the state’s history, needs, and preemptive clause preventing struggling towns from implementing a sales tax.

Senator Mary Boren, a Democrat from Norman, was the only one to vote ‘no’.

House Speaker Charles McCall, a Republican from Atoka, described it as a significant day, but criticized the Senate for the financial burden caused by their delay in approving the law. He stated that the law was passed by the House 322 days ago.

“The postponement of the vote resulted in Oklahomans paying an extra $374 million in taxes, and the absence of an emergency measure to promptly implement the cuts will lead to an additional $200 million burden on our citizens. Despite this, Senate leadership made efforts to ensure the approval of the measures,” stated McCall. Over the past three years, the House has forwarded numerous tax cuts to the Senate, but they have consistently been delayed and not given consideration.

Treat previously stated that the Senate will not consider a 0.25% decrease in the state’s income. Gov. Kevin Stitt is in favor of the income tax reduction. The governor has stated his intention to approve any tax reduction that he receives and is anticipated to approve the grocery tax reduction.

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