OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Latest on oral arguments before the Oklahoma Supreme Court on lawsuits that challenge revenue-raising measures (all times local):
Oklahoma Supreme Court justices have indicated state lawmakers may have acted appropriately when they adopted hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue-raising measures being challenged as unconstitutional.
The court heard oral arguments Tuesday in lawsuits challenging the constitutionality of revenue bills passed by the Legislature to help close an $878 million budget shortfall for the fiscal year that began July 1.
The lawsuits allege that removing a 1.25 percent exemption on auto sales and approving a new $1.50 fee on a pack of cigarettes were adopted in violation of the state constitution.
But justices indicated lawmakers may have the authority to increase the fee on cigarettes to protect public health and to remove tax exemptions it had previously adopted.
Justices did not indicate when they will hand down a ruling.
Three lawsuits that challenge revenue-raising measures adopted by Oklahoma lawmakers are scheduled to be argued before the state's highest court.
Oral arguments will be presented before the Oklahoma Supreme Court Tuesday in lawsuits challenging hundreds of millions of dollars in new revenue that was passed to help close an $878 million hole in the budget for the fiscal year that began July 1 and avoid large cuts to state agencies and services.
A lawsuit challenging a $1.50 fee on a pack of cigarettes alleges it's an unconstitutional "tax" that violates a state constitutional prohibition against passing revenue-raising measures in the final five days of a legislative session and without a supermajority of lawmakers.
The other lawsuits make similar allegations, including one by auto dealers challenging a new vehicle sales tax.
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