Republican Senator Randy Brogdon of Owasso said today that the call for special session should include a fix for the tobacco tax.
“The Senate is coming back in a special session this week and Governor Henry needs to expand the call so that the legislature can fix the ever-growing problem that is the tobacco tax. It is the governor and Treasurer Meacham’s poorly drafted tobacco tax plan that has caused this mess; at the very least the governor should enable the legislature to clean up his mess.
“There have been reports that six-cent stamps are showing up on a disproportional amount of tribal cigarettes rather than the higher tax stamps that can reach up to 87 cents. The legislature needs to ensure that all tribes are complying with the law by using the appropriate tax stamp,” stated Brogdon.
Brogdon also said this problem is greatly contributing to the low revenue numbers that have yet to meet the expectations promised to us by Gov. Henry and Treasurer Meacham. “The intake needed to fund the health programs that the people of Oklahoma voted for has yet to be met and will not be met until this problem has been resolved by legislative action. This includes the Premium Assistance Program that will help many Oklahoma small businesses provide insurance coverage to their employees, along with the trauma center and the cancer treatment center”.
The tribal price advantage on cigarettes – which in some cases can be as much as $9.70 per carton - has also crippled non-tribal business, especially in the Tulsa area.
“To truly and completely address the tobacco tax issue aggressive legislative action is needed quickly,” Brogdon said.