Senate Republicans demand vote on tax cut agreement

Senate Republicans gathered Wednesday to demand a vote on an income tax cut agreement previously reached between Governor Fallin, Speaker Steele, and President Pro Tem Bingman.  The agreement, announced on May 17th, was used in the final crafting of House Bill 3061.  Senate President Pro Tem Bingman, flanked by the entire Senate Republican caucus, condemned House Republicans for backing out of a deal reached in good faith. 

“A deal is a deal—this is something everyone in this building has respected, at least until today,” said Bingman, R-Sapulpa. 

“Last week, Senate Republicans stood with House Republicans, and the Governor, to announce a significant tax cut for the people of Oklahoma.  We crafted the bill together, announced it together, and committed to delivering for the people of Oklahoma together.  We are extremely disappointed to find House Republicans aren’t true to their word.”

Senate Finance Chairman Mike Mazzei defended the tax cut agreement between the Governor, the Speaker, and the Pro Tem, and echoed Pro Tem Bingman’s disappointment. 

“House Republicans were with us at the beginning of this legislative session—together, we said we would identify and eliminate wasteful tax credits and giveaways that weren’t in the best interest of Oklahomans so we could give that hard-earned money back to taxpayers,” said Mazzei, R-Tulsa.  “And while Senate Republicans have taken on the tough issue of eliminating these credits, our colleagues in the House chose instead to punt.  Last week, they picked up the ball—and working with Senate Leadership and the Governor, agreed to a deal that moves the ball down the field toward meaningful tax relief for Oklahomans.  Now, they’ve told us they can’t pass the tax cut we agreed to—they’ve fumbled the ball—and they’re trying to change the rules of the game in the 4th quarter, just because the rules seem inconvenient.” 

Senate Republicans remain supportive of the tax cut plan agreed to by Governor Fallin, Speaker Steele, and Pro Tem Bingman.