The Oklahoma Legislature has reached an impasse on the so-called sin industries of gambling and cigarettes.
Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman wants to expand gaming, but their Republican constituents think he should put that idea in his pipe and smoke it.
Both the Oklahoma Senate and House are managed by the GOP, but that isn’t stopping the minority party from blocking a smoke tax increase proposed by House Republicans.
Democrats into the reduced chamber are doing so in order to give their side leverage in ongoing spending plan negotiations, and their wishes to expand gambling and allow tribal casinos to offer roulette and dice games.
Oklahoma lawmakers are researching ways to close an $878 million funding gap. While Republicans can pass the budget of their choosing, they need a vote that is three-fourths raise tobacco cigarette fees, and also the 26 Democrats within the 101-member House are not budging.
‘We’ve said all along that the cigarette income tax is really a Band-Aid for a bullet opening,’ Oklahoma House Minority Leader Scott Inman (D-District 94) told the Associated Press. ‘You’ve surely got to have additional revenue.’
This the House and Senate budget committees recommended a $1.50 per cigarette pack tax increase week. To really make the budget whole with only that tariff hike, Oklahomans would need to purchase roughly 585.3 million packs of smokes.