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House again falls short in vote for Oklahoma budget fix

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Posted at 5:28 PM, Nov 08, 2017
and last updated 2017-11-09 09:20:33-05

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A plan to hike taxes on tobacco, alcohol, fuel and energy production in order to plug a hole in Oklahoma's budget and to stabilize state spending has fallen five votes short in the House amid bipartisan opposition.

The full House voted 71-27 on Wednesday for the bill. A total of 76 votes were needed to pass a revenue-raising measure out of the House. Both Republicans and Democrats opposed it.

The bill would have generated $140 million in funding to help plug a hole in the current budget. It would ultimately generate about $450 million annually to help pay for a $3,000 pay raise for teachers, a $1,000 boost for state workers.

Oklahoma House Speaker Charles McCall released the following statement about the failure of the bill:

“As we have said throughout the session, the 75 percent majority requirement of State Question 640 is a high hurdle. We heard from our constituents more on this bill than any other in a long time, and it was clear that the House listened and voted the way their constituents encouraged them to vote. The bill passed with a large majority, which makes it eligible to be voted on by the people of Oklahoma at the ballot. It is time to move on to what can pass and help this year’s budget. Last week, the House -- in four bipartisan votes that all received more than 90 percent support -- sent several appropriations measures to the Senate that would use existing cash to ensure vital health services and programs will continue without interruption into April 2018. We also approved a bill that would increase the gross production tax to 7 percent on more than 6,600 existing wells and generate $48 million for this year’s budget. I encourage the Senate to act quickly to pass those measures for the citizens of Oklahoma.”

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