OCPA releases revenue plan they say could pass without unnecessary tax increases

OCPA President Jonathan Small speaks Feb.12 as his group releases a "plan that could pass" at the Oklahoma Capitol. (KOKH/Anthony West)

The Oklahoma Council of Public Affairs has released a revenue plan that they say could pass without "unnecessary" tax increases.

The group says their plan still funds a $5,000 teacher pay raise without bringing tax increases to working families and small businesses. OCPA Chairman Larry Parman and OCPA President Jonathan Small announced the plan Feb. 12 at the State Capitol.

“Many people have asked OCPA for, in their words, ‘a plan that can pass,’ something that doesn’t raise taxes on working families, something simple that doesn’t require lawmakers to go through much gnashing of teeth from state government bureaucrats and tax consumers, but that still funds a $5,000 teacher pay raise and prevents nursing homes and other critical services from going under," Parman said.

The OCPA says their plan would raise $505.4 million annually and includes the following items:

  • A gross production tax increase to 5 percent for existing wells taxed at 2 percent and for all future wells for 36 months, and 7 percent thereafter
  • A $0.75 per pack cigarette tax increase
  • A cap of $10 million on the zero-emission tax credit for wind
  • Send to Oklahoma voters a ballot measure dedicating all new tobacco settlement payments that currently go to the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust (TSET) to the state’s Medicaid budget
  • Tribes in Oklahoma step up and decline to accept any future rebates from the state for the sale of cigarettes and tobacco products

“This plan, once passed, would make revenues available within 90 days. We believe this plan is the fastest way to get our teachers the raise they deserve,” Small said.

Lawmakers are expected to vote this week on the "Step Up Oklahoma" budget plan endorsed by a coalition of business and civic leaders.

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