Existing state obligations and the volatility of energy revenues will make the state budget writing process even more challenging than usual this legislative session, according to the chairman of the State Senate Appropriations Committee.
Senator Kelly Haney and other Senate budget leaders received a briefing on the state budget outlook Wednesday - one that outlined approximately $226 million in bills that must be paid off by the state in the next fiscal year.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Out of $300 million in additional revenue this year, $130 million will be available for the legislature to work with this session. Senator Johnnie Crutchfield said because of that, the time is right to pass tax selective breaks aimed at helping Oklahoma families and businesses.
"We've passed various tax cut bills during the past few sessions and we have seen our economy continue to grow. I think each of the bills I have authored will help us to continue to become even more prosperous by stimulating our economy," said Crutchfield, D-Ardmore.read more.
If state leaders are serious about eliminating the sales tax on groceries, they must do it in a responsible manner that does not hurt education or other essential programs that rely on the revenue, according to the chair of the Senate Education Committee.
With that goal in mind, Senator Penny Williams is authoring legislation that would repeal the state sales tax on food while replacing most of the lost state revenue with adjustments to other fees and levies. The measure would put the question on a statewide ballot for voter approval.read more.
If a state lawmaker gets his way, an additional $ 9.5 million in surplus welfare funds will be transferred to a program that helps Oklahomans pay their home heating costs.
Senator Kevin Easley is calling on the Oklahoma Human Services Commission to transfer the balance of its surplus welfare money to the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP).read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Saying it's time to give Oklahoma shoppers a greater incentive to spend their dollars at home, Senator Jonathon Nichols announced today that he has authored legislation calling for an annual ten day sales tax holiday.
"I think its widely known that many Oklahoman's head to Texas each August to take advantage of their tax free weekend. The ten-day tax holiday proposal I've authored would include that weekend so we can encourage Oklahomans to support their local businesses," explained Senator Nichols.read more.
OKLAHOMA CITY - Legislation aimed at protecting farmer's rights in the midst of big business mergers and alliances is set to be introduced when session starts in a few weeks, according to Senator Paul Muegge, D-Tonkawa and Representative Kenneth Corn, D-Howe.
Oklahoma is joining several other states, including Colorado, Iowa, Missouri, Nebraska and Wyoming in its endorsement of the model legislation assembled in August of 2000 by Attorneys General Thomas Miller of Iowa and Heidi Heikamp of North Dakota.read more.