Release: May 11, 2004
(L-R) Sens. Glenn Coffee, James A. Williamson and Scott
Pruitt unveil GOP Tobacco Tax Proposal.
Henry’s ‘Best Offer’ Tobacco
Plan Not Best for Oklahoma
Tuesday, Senate Republicans offered an alternative
to Gov. Brad Henry’s “last, best” plan
to raise the tobacco tax to pay for various health care
“The governor’s ‘last, best
offer’ is not what’s best for Oklahoma, and
it has little chance of obtaining a three-fourths majority
in the Senate and the House,” said Senate Republican
A. Williamson of Tulsa.
“The Senate Republican alternative makes
it clear that Republicans support improving both the health
and the prosperity of Oklahomans,” he said.
“The Henry plan is woefully short on
job-creating tax relief. It doesn’t do enough to discourage
smoking. It is short on funding for trauma care. It shortchanges
funding for indigent care in Tulsa. And it gives tribal
retailers an unfair price advantage over non-tribal retailers,”
said Assistant Republican Leader Scott
Pruitt of Broken Arrow.
“Senate Republicans today are offering
an alternative plan that
fixes the problems in the Henry plan, and gives Oklahoma’s
ailing economy a significant shot in the arm with unprecedented
and immediate tax relief. We believe our plan has a realistic
chance of getting the necessary three-fourths majority if
it goes to a floor vote,” stated Assistant Republican
Coffee of Oklahoma City.
The Senate GOP plan would raise the net tobacco
tax by 99-cents per pack, instead of Henry’s proposed
55-cent per pack increase. The plan adopts Henry’s
health care spending proposals, but adds an additional $10
million for indigent care in Tulsa and $5 million more for
statewide trauma care compared to the Henry plan.
The GOP plan also adopts the so-called “QuickTrip”
language to allow non-tribal retailers to follow the same
tax collection rules as nearby Indian smoke shops.
“It is critical that non-tribal businesses
have an equal playing field,” Williamson said. “Those
of us from the Tulsa area are particularly mindful of this
in light of Git-n-Go’s recent bankruptcy.”
The Republican plan includes significant tax
reform to spur job creation, investment, and economic growth
in Oklahoma. In FY 2005, the Senate GOP’s plan would
fully repeal the state’s 6.65% tax on all capital
gains, and would increase the state’s death tax exemption
to $1 million.
The GOP plan includes the tax cut for retirees from the
Henry plan, and eliminates the controversial income tax
trigger that automatically raises income tax rates when
Beginning in FY 2006, the Senate GOP plan
would begin phasing down the state’s top income tax
rate from 6.65% to 5.9%. A portion of the income tax relief
would be implemented each year using all growth revenue
above the level needed by the state to account for inflation
and population growth. The phase down would likely take
3 to 5 years to be fully implemented.
more information contact:
Communications Office - (405) 521-5774