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Oklahoma Supreme Court scrutinizes revenue bills

The Oklahoma Supreme Court chamber. (KOKH/Phil Cross)

Oklahoma Supreme Court justices have indicated state lawmakers may have acted appropriately when they adopted hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue-raising measures being challenged as unconstitutional.

The court heard oral arguments Tuesday in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of revenue bills passed by the Legislature to help close an $878 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1.

The lawsuits allege that removing a 1.25 percent exemption on auto sales and approving a new $1.50 fee on a pack of cigarettes were adopted in violation of the state constitution.

But justices indicated lawmakers may have the authority to increase the fee on cigarettes to protect public health and to remove tax exemptions it had previously adopted.

Justices did not indicate when they will hand down a ruling.

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