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Bipartisan opposition sinks proposed Oklahoma cigarette tax

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Posted at 3:16 PM, May 15, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-15 17:19:00-04

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A proposed tax increase on cigarettes that was a key piece of a budget deal between House Republicans and Democrats has been rejected with bipartisan opposition, a vote that will likely send budget writers back to the negotiating table with less than two weeks before the end of the legislative session.

House members voted 63-34 on Monday in favor of the $1.50-per-pack tax increase, 13 votes short of the 76 needed for a tax increase to pass the House.

Fourteen Democrats joined 20 Republicans in voting against the bill. House Democratic leader Rep. Scott Inman and some of his Democratic colleagues have insisted they wouldn't support a cigarette tax increase without a plan to raise the gross production tax on oil and natural gas.

Gov. Mary Fallin released the following statement about the vote:

“I’m disappointed in those legislators who put political games and Washington-like gridlock ahead of the lives of Oklahomans and the core services our citizens expect.

“It’s personal to those of us who have lost loved ones to smoking-related illnesses. It’s personal to teenagers in Oklahoma who would have been saved from lives of tobacco addiction if the bill had passed. It’s personal for citizens who would have received health care from the new revenue.

“I encourage all citizens to contact legislators and urge a yes vote on a smart way to protect the health of our citizens and the health of our state services.”

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